Tuesday, June 30, 2020

111 Wichita Falls Degrees Feeling Not As Hot As Death Valley

This morning whilst perusing the news I saw that the temperature prediction for today was to be over  the century mark by around 5 this afternoon.

It was 8 minutes prior to five when I did made the temperature screen shot, via my phone, which you see here.

Only 99 degrees, not the promised 100. And now the time has passed that 5 o'clock mark and is still 99.

I do not know why the weather predictors can not be more accurate.

Due to that 99 apparently feeling like 111 I think I will forego the afternoon bike ride I have been enjoying of late, what with being borderline elderly and thus, apparently, more susceptible to heatstroke than someone younger and in better shape.

Earlier today I did get in some HOT endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation by walking the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, which is photo documented via two photos below.

A fork off the main trail forks again, terminating in two swinging benches. I am the only person I have ever seen swinging on either of these benches. But, looking in the trash barrel you see at the fork in the trail I saw multiple empty drink containers of various sorts, which indicates to me that those benches must be seeing some use later in the day, such as during the colorful sunsetting time.

A short distance from where the above spur trail joins the Circle Trail I came upon a disturbing instance of urban destruction.

What sort of vandalous madman would smash to smithereens a work of sculptural art like the tall hoodoo which stood at this location a couple days ago?

These acts of destruction seem to have no dampering effect on the rock piling spirit of the mysterious hoodoo builder. If history repeats itself, as it always seems to do, soon a new hoodoo will soon rise at this location.

Maybe the hoodoo builder should consider using super glue to render the construction less easy to topple.

Just checked the phone again. We are still stuck at that relatively chilly temperature of 99. I do not remember if we hit 100 last summer at my current location.

I do remember the last time I was super heated well above 100.

It was way back in August of 1998, when Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's paternal parental units flew me to Vegas, and then drove me out to Death Valley because the news that morning told us a temperature records might be set that day at Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in North America, at 282 feet below sea level.

I do not remember what the temperature was when we made it to Badwater Basin or Furnace Creek. I do remember it did not break the record, which is somewhere above 130.  I also remember it was extremely HOT.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Windy Sunday Lake Wichita Walk With 64 Uncensored Photographs

Sunday is always a good day to walk the Lake Wichita promenade atop Lake Wichita Dam via the Circle Trail. Today was a particularly good Sunday to walk the dam, due to clouds blotting out some of the overly HOT sun, and a strong gale force wind chilling what little heat remained.

The photo you see above, looking across the white capped waves at Mount Wichita in the distance, is the furthest I made it today in the walking across the dam project. The wind had become tiresome.

I think some of the haze blotting out the sun is Saharan desert dust. Such was quite noticeable at sunset Saturday night.

Turning around and heading the opposite direction the scene you see below comes into view.

One fisherman trying to cast against the wind from shore, whilst another fisherman risks seasickness from fishing from the rocking and rolling floating fish deck.

That is the newly opened Lake Wichita boardwalk you see jutting out into the lake beyond the floating dock. Those poles sticking out of the water between the floating dock and the boardwalk are the remains of the wooden piers upon which the long gone Lake Wichita Pavilion once sat, before succumbing to a fire in the 1950s.

In the next photo we are heading out towards the new boardwalk, soon to join the three boardwalk walkers you see already walking on the boardwalk.

The above is a different perspective on the new boardwalk, from the view I saw a couple days ago and blogged about in Not Being Bored On Lake Wichita Boardwalk.

I am hoping the wind eventually dies down today, sufficiently so, that a bike ride might seem possibly pleasant later today. I feel as if I am not getting enough endorphins of late.

Yikes. I just looked at my blog to get the link to the previous blogging about the Lake Wichita boardwalk and was appalled to see that Google is now sticking advertisements into the body of the blog post. Previously the ads were inserted only where I indicated they could be inserted.

And that which the blog is now advertising deserves another Yikes! One ad is suggesting you stop using toilet paper, whilst another wants you to click it to see 64 uncensored rare photographs not suitable for all viewers!

Of late I have been thinking about killing my website and ceasing with the blogging. These ads may be what is known as a final straw...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Not Being Bored On Lake Wichita Boardwalk

Yesterday my bike took me on an early evening ride to the Lake Wichita boardwalk.

Looking at the photo documentation of my handlebars on the aforementioned boardwalk one might think no one else was enjoying the pleasant early evening outdoors.

However, the reality was I have never seen so many people on the Circle Trail on top of Lake Wichita dam as I saw yesterday.

In addition to the dam walkers and riders, I saw multiple kayakers kayaking, along with multiple fisherpeople fishing, and two mountain climbers descending from the summit of Mount Wichita.

I would have thought the heavy rain earlier in the day would have rendered Mount Wichita too muddy to be climbed, but, apparently, I was wrong about that. Or maybe yesterday's mountain climbers enjoy the additional challenge of a slippery slope.

Being on the new Lake Wichita boardwalk, built over actual water in less than a year, reminded me of a question Mr. Bobalu asked me awhile back, asking me if I had heard anything at all regarding the current status of Fort Worth's three simple little bridges which the town has been trying to build for six years.

Six years trying to build bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

A large area of Fort Worth has been a construction destruction mess for years now due to the cataracted Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, an ill-considered, ineptly implemented, bogus flood control and economic development scheme the public has never voted for, foisted on the city by the corrupt group of cronies who run their town in a manner known as The Fort Worth Way.

Anyway, to answer Mr. Bobalu's question, I have heard nothing about the current status of America's Biggest Boondoggle for quite some time.

It seems things like a pandemic and the American people finally being fed up with police brutality, plus a tanking economy, along with the worst president in anyone's memory, puts things like Fort Worth's scandalous messes on a back burner of insignificance in the bigger scheme of things.

Has that roundabout at the center of the bridge construction mess ever been completed? As in landscaped? Does that embarrassing million dollar aluminum homage to a trash can still sit surrounded by a weed/litter infested eyesore?

Has anyone ever gotten an explanation as to why this million dollar work of art was purchased and installed years and years before anything useful regarding the Trinity River Vision has been completed?

Is wasting a million bucks, on what amounts to being a distracting eyesore, one of the reasons Kay Granger has been unable to secure the promised federal funds for the Boondoggle her son was hired to executively direct to further motivate his mother to secure federal funds?

One would think it might be difficult to make a case for federal help when somehow there is already sufficient funding to buy something like a million dollar aluminum "kinetic sculpture".

The next "bridge" building project on Lake Wichita will be the final section of the Circle Trail, with the current plan being to build most of it on the lake.

I suspect that final section of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail will be taking people over water long before any of those three simple littles bridges in Fort Worth take people, or anything, over water...

Sunday, June 21, 2020

2020 Flooding Father's Day

It was four years ago today that I called my dad for the last time to wish him a Happy Father's Day.

It was three years ago today that I was able to wish my dad a Happy Father's Day, in person, for what turned out to be my dad's last Happy Father's Day.

On my dad's last Father's Day my favorite brother-in-law, Jack, and his first wife, my sister Jackie, brought a McDonald's all you can eat buffet of all my dad's McDonald's favorites to the banquet room of my dad's final home zone.

I blogged about what turned out to be dad's last McDonald's Happy Father's Day buffet in a post titled Dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet With Uncle Mooch & Tillie.

Little did I know, at the time, that I was to be seeing Uncle Mooch about two months later, along with Uncle Mooch's first wife, Aunt Jane.

I had been sort of holding out hope that the current world situation would improve enough by now so that my long planned trip to Washington could take place next month. But, I think the current world situation is about to get worse.

This morning's weather at my Texas location is a perfect metaphor for my current drippy melancholy.

Thunder stormed during the night. Soon after the arrival of illumination this morning dark clouds began delivering copious amounts of downpouring rain, along with a booming musical accompaniment of thunder drums.

That is the super wet view from my computer room window you are seeing above.

The current result of all that rain is my abode is now surrounded by a moat. This is the most substantial moat I have been surrounded by since living at this location.

The rain has finally stopped, for now, the flooding is subsiding somewhat. I think I will venture out in it and see if I can make it to my vehicle.

I almost forgot to wish a Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Chilly Cloudy First Day Of Summer On A Wichita Bluff Bench

Spring roared out like a lion late Friday afternoon, with a sudden drenching downpour with a few minutes of thunder booming.

I was not under cover when the rain began to drench. This resulted in me discovering I can still run fast when properly motivated.

I had three instances of running fast through a downpour yesterday, resulting in some aching muscles today, on the first day of summer.

So, with muscles aching, and hours to go before Trump's Bizarro Tulsa Debacle, I drove to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, this first 2020 summer morning, to commune with nature and have some relaxing time swinging on that bench you see at the end of a spur trail off the main trail which trails through the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

As you can see via the bench photo documentation the Wichita Bluff Nature Area is looking like a green jungle on this first day of summer.

I forgot to mention, this first day of summer is relatively chilly, not even in the low 80s when I did my nature communing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Blackberry Hunting In The Wichita Falls Lucy Park Jungle

With a cooling breeze blowing on an outer world barely heated to 90 degrees, I thought I could have myself a mighty fine commune with nature today via a walk around the undeveloped backwoods lush green jungle part of Lucy Park.

I thought correctly. The combo of a semi-strong wind and a lot of shade, with cooling green on the ground, made for a pleasant, not HOT, walk.

It seems like an ancient long ago time when my number one fear of living in Texas was the fact that I've never been a fan of hot weather.

I never was a fan of a heat wave when I lived in Western Washington. At that location temperatures in the high 70s is a heat wave. When it gets into the 80s in the Puget Sound zone one begins to suffer. And those rare times the heat would go into the 90s, well, that was just not tolerable.

Ironically, living in Western Washington, where it seldom gets HOT, one of the fun things to do, in summer, is to drive over the mountains, as in Cascade mountains, via one of the mountain passes, to Eastern Washington, to a climate more like Texas, albeit with a lot more hills, big rivers, orchards, Indian reservations and tourist towns.

Walking in the Lucy Park jungle today, with its lush vegetation, I was wondering why blackberries do not grow here, in the wild, naturally. Blackberries are grown commercially here, in locations such as the Young's Farm Orchards a few miles northeast of my location, in the small town known as Charlie, a short distance from the even smaller town known as Dean.

I have been to both Charlie and Dean, but saw no blackberries at that point in time. Because it was the middle of winter.

The Young's operation also has strawberry fields. With a you pick option. I do not know if one can pick the blackberries in you pick mode.

Maybe if I did more off trail exploring in the Lucy Park jungle I might find some blackberry vines with fruit ready to pick. I doubt it though...

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

On Wichita Bluffs Finding Endorphins Whilst Dodging COVID-19 With Skyscraper Hoodoo

In need of some endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation this morning I was once again in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area communing with nature, whilst quickly ascending and descending the steep natural bluffs.

Today the Wichita Bluff Hoodoo came into view long before I reached its closeup viewing location. I saw the Hoodoo from a distance because it has now risen to heights seldom seen in Hoodoos.

If you look closely at the Hoodoo photo documentation you will see there is a second Hoodoo, of the extremely small sort. Perhaps this is some sort of homage to the Wichita Falls World's Littlest Skyscraper, located a couple miles east of this little Hoodoo rising on the Wichita Bluffs.

We have had a big uptick in confirmed COVID-19 in Wichita Falls. 19 new infections yesterday. Four of those infected were employed in two different downtown Wichita Falls eating and drinking establishments. 

Of late I have seen a steep drop in the number of people wearing a mask whilst shopping, such as in Walmart, or Target, or ALDI, or Office Depot, all of which I have eye witnessed in the past week.

I am coming to terms with the reality there will be no trip to Washington this summer. I have been saying for months that the plan to head to the Pacific Northwest was in jeopardy, but the small part of me which can be optimistic thought it would somehow work out by the time the time arrived.

I fear the worst has not yet began to get near to arriving...

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Carlotta Crackpotta's Purloined Haltom City Park Plaque Investigation

Friday morning, on Facebook, I saw a post about a memorial plaque in a park in the Fort Worth suburb known as Haltom City. That memorial plaque memorializes Ally Collins, a four year old who drowned in a flash flood way back in 2007.

That flash flood, and its drowning of Ally Collins, caused to come about a lot of political activism regarding trying to fix the inept, incompetent urban planning in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, with demands that something be done to mitigate the chronic flash flooding caused by poorly planned developments.

This flash flood of political activism soon came to target what was earlier in this century known as the Trinity River Vision. An imaginary flood control project supposedly designed to address urgent flooding issues where there had been no flooding for well over a half a century.

As one decade flowed into the next the Trinity River Vision morphed into the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, with three simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction over dry land, trying to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

In the years since Ally Collins drowned, the Trinity River Vision, now known, by most, as America's Biggest Boondoggle, or more simply, as the Boondoggle, has spent millions upon millions of bucks, with no imaginary new flood control measures to be seen in the area which has not flooded for well over half a century.

While millions upon millions of bucks has not been spent addressing the issues which caused the flash flooding which drowned Ally Collins.

And now back to that plaque at that park in that Fort Worth suburb. I made a comment on that Facebook post, saying something like it is too bad that plaque is so small it is difficult to find, and to see, once one does find it. And that maybe someone could find a way to replace the Ally Collins memorial plaque with something larger and more memorable.

And then, beginning Friday afternoon, I started seeing incoming phone calls coming in from someone who for privacy's sake we shall refer to, this time, as Carlotta Crackpotta.

By late afternoon I was on a bike ride. On that bike ride I stopped in the shade of the MSU Mustang statues to sit on a bench and call Carlotta Crackpotta back.

Miss Crackpotta answered before the first ring finished. The first words Carlotta Crackpotta spoke to me were "Did you take that plaque?

What plaque you talking about, Carlotta, I thought and asked?

The Ally Collins plaque you were commenting on in a sinister way this morning on Facebook, Carlotta said back to me.

Oh, said I, yes, of course it was me. I drove all the way to DFW to purloin the Ally Collins plaque, what with that being just the sorta thing I do.

Well, after we got past those initial pleasantries I was able to figure out that someone had removed the Ally Collins plaque. Carlotta Crackpotta then was called by someone from the Haltom City city government to tell Carlotta about the purloined plaque. Carlotta then intuited from my Facebook comment regarding the plaque that I must have removed it so as to cause its replacement with something more substantial.

Not a bad idea, but I am innocent of the crime.

So, when I was finally able to get Carlotta Crackpotta off the phone by telling her it was past 5 and thus the cocktail float in the pool time of the day, I saw rising from ground near where I was sitting a memorial type plaque of the sort which should replace the missing Ally Collins plaque.

That is a photo of that plaque you see at the top.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Hoodoo Musings On Wichita Bluff Nature Area

Found a near record breaking Hoodoo teetering unnaturally precarious in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area this morning. 

I have yet to come upon a human constructing a Hoodoo.

Maybe they are natural formations formed by a strong wind, of which there has been plenty of late. 

I have been enjoying an increase in my walking miles the past couple months. The COVID-19 related activity reduction seems to have caused some weight gaining, hitting an all time high of 221 today. I had not weighed myself for a few weeks.

I am almost 100% certain the weight gain is all muscle.

With most of that muscle gain happening in my mid-section, hence currently being able to comfortably slide into only two of my dozens of shorts and pants.

To help cope with this expansive issue I bought myself some new shorts which have elastic waistbands easily able to cope with my extra muscular mid-section.

Does anyone make pants with elastic waistbands? Other than sweatpants?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Shady Beach Walk To Wichita Falls

On this second Wednesday of the 2020 version of June, what with the outer world breezy and relatively chilly, as in barely in the 80s, I thought a shady walk along the Wichita River, with Wichita Falls as the destination, seemed as if it would be a mighty fine thing to do.

And so it was.

In the first instance of today's photo documenting we are looking north on a Wichita River beach. This is not a wide beach. And not a sandy beach. This beach is more like it is made of hardened adobe.

Today when I left the Circle Trail to walk on the above beach it crossed my mind as to how different I am now than I was when I first began experiencing Texas. Back then walking on a riverside location like this would have, well, un-nerved me. I would have been all worried that a big snake or alligator or tarantula or some other scary critter would attack me.

Since such has never happened in all the years I have been exploring the wild zones of Texas it amused me today to realize how wigged out a location such as this would have made me at another point in time.

About a half mile from the beach location I made it to Wichita Falls. This is a pleasant walk, mostly in the cooling shade of big treees.

One never knows if the falls will be turned on, or not, til one hears the roar of the falling water. As can see, today the falls are turned on.

The above closeup look at the upper falls is what one comes to when one climbs those steps you saw in the previous photo.

After going up one side of the falls I went up the other side, via the serpentine brick trail which leads to a couple overlooks looking over the falls.

The above is the view from above the falls, looking down at the Circle Trail bridge over the falls.

Today I am using the new version of Google's Blogger app. I do not like it. Although there have been improvements since I first tried it. By the end of the month this new app becomes the default, with the option of reverting to the original version.

The older I get the more I like things to stay the same, or at least be an obvious improvement when there is a change. Does this mean I am becoming conservative? What a shuddering thought....

Thursday, June 4, 2020

George Floyd Protest Today In My Old Burlington Hometown

Watched most of the George Floyd Memorial today. Don't know if I have ever heard an entire Reverend Al Sharpton speech before. Now I have and I gotta say, I was impressed. One of the things Sharpton mentioned was the fact that these current American protests inspired by racial injustice have a feature not seen at any time previous.

As in, in city after city, from New York to Seattle, there are more white faces than faces of color. Truly the times they are a-changing, with white Americans joining in chanting "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE".

And now this afternoon, via Skagit Breaking, on Faceback, I saw video of today's protest in my old hometown of Burlington.

Burlington is a little town, population currently 9,124. The video catches the end of the protest. The narrator apologizes for the language you see in the above screen cap.

Another screen cap is below. And below that I embeded the video.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Fort Worth May Spend $70 Million To Become Imaginary Tech Hub

In non-troubling times if I saw something like that which you see above, on the front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, I would not have hesitated long before pointing out a thing or two.

But, with America convulsed by civil unrest, rightfully so, in the midst of the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu over a century ago, whilst being ineptly mislead by the worst president in American history, the latest Fort Worth nonsense seems sort of trivial to be talking about.

However, I'm bored, and feel like spending a few minutes clacking keyboard keys.

Does anyone keep track of how much money Fort Worth has spent on various incentives trying to lure some business to town? Such has been an ongoing phenomenon ever since I arrived in Texas and began observing the Fort Worth Way up close.

So many pitifully pathetic instances. The Cabela's sporting goods con job comes to mind. Fort Worth's inept city government bent over backwards to accommodate Cabela's, falling for the standard Cabela con that a sporting goods store would become the #1 tourist attraction in the state.

I remember when first I read that bizarre claim and thinking to myself doesn't that sort of insult all of the actual tourist attractions in Texas which actually do attract tourists?

Cabela's tried their standard incentive request when wanting to open a store by Olympia in my old home state.

Cabela's was told if it was not economically feasible to open a store without taxpayer help, then don't open a store. Cabela's opened that store, and then another one, in Washington, north of Seattle. Cabela's did not add their it's gonna be the top tourist attraction to their Washington pitch. That would be a bit ludicrous to do in the shadow of Mount Rainier, with the Olympics a short distance northwest, and Seattle a few miles to the northeast.

But, Fort Worth, well, the city government, fell for the Cabela con. And, within a few months of opening, the Fort Worth Cabela's was no longer the only Cabela's in Texas. And now, the Fort Worth Cabela's is not even the only Cabela's in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro zone.

And what is with the headline saying "Fort Worth says"?

Who in Fort Worth says this? Towns don't talk. Someone representing a town might say something.

So, who is the fool behind this latest attempt to lure a business to town via incentives?

Fort Worth can be a tech hub?

Has whoever thinks this actually been to any of America's tech hubs?

Instead of trying to bribe a business to come to town, why not instead make an effort to make the town more attractive for a business to locate to? As in why not some sort of effort to turn Fort Worth into a modern American city?

You know, where most streets have sidewalks, where city parks have modern restrooms, running water, and zero outhouses, where the town has multiple public pools, and an efficient modern public transit system.

And nothing as embarrassing as Molly the Trolley.

Fort Worth's Molly the Trolley needs to be taken off the streets and relegated to a museum.

Another thing to think about regarding attracting anything to a town, be it a business, or tourists. Awhile back some sort of survey found that Fort Worth ranked something like #48 in public awareness, whilst being America's 13th biggest city.

I have no idea what Fort Worth could do to raise awareness of the town in the American imagination.

I do know it ain't things like happy hour inner tube floats in a polluted river.

Or botched public works projects the public has never voted for, such as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, which has been limping along for most of this century, currently with three simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction over dry land, hoping one day to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

You really think it is attractive to a business looking to re-locate to see something like the mess which  has become America's Biggest and Dumbest Boondoggle? Do you think such instills confidence in a town's ability to get stuff done?

You really think $70 million is gonna successfully lure some obscure business to Fort Worth, turning the town into a tech hub?

Delusional madness, that's what it seems to be to me...