Sunday, August 30, 2020

Talking To Linda Lou From A Lake Wichita Dam Swinging Bench

Last night rain fell in copious amounts, accompanied by a thunderous orchestra of booms, along with a bright light show.

My bike was not under the usual cover I put it under when rain is predicted. Rain was not predicted for last night, as far as I knew. So, my bike got soaked. This creates what, in the past, has been a temporary problem with the crank mechanism. Previously, when it dries out, the annoying noise goes away. This time I fear that might not happen.

I did not know my bike had a problem until about a mile into heading south on the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita. Before the crank noise reared its popping head I had realized my tires needed some pumping.

So, I had already decided to cut the bike ride short when an incoming call came in whilst I was crossing under the Kemp Boulevard bridge.

A short distance later I was atop the Lake Wichita Dam, stopped at where a trail spur ends at the spillway, got out the phone and saw the call was from Linda Lou, she being one of my favorite Washingtonians.

I parked my bike and sat at the swinging bench you see photo documented above, and called Linda Lou.

The majority of the conversation with Linda Lou was regarding the recent ridiculous dystopian madness, full of lies and idiocy, known as the Republican National Convention.

On the subject of idiocy Linda Lou also brought up the time on October of 2018 when we were at the summit of South Mountain in Phoenix, looking at the handmade craftworks of a group of Native Americans, from whom Linda Lou bought a trinket or two.

When suddenly the Indians got a warning signal of some sort. I don't think it was smoke. Which warned that the the law, in the form of a park ranger, was closing in on them. And so they quickly packed up their goods. We stood there appalled at what we were seeing. The Native from who Linda Lou purchased trinkets told us this happens several times a day.

Why? We asked.

There was no answer. We all thought the Natives displaying their wares was charming and fun. Sort of like a small version of what you get to experience at the entry to Monument Valley, also in Arizona. No harm done.

But, Phoenix is in the Arizona county of Maricopa. The county where that criminal sheriff named Joe Arpaio operated, hence, maybe, the heavy handed, over blown, unnecessary harassment of a group of Native Americans minding their own business, literally.

Even though it was short, I had a mighty fine bike ride today, along with a pleasant talk with Linda Lou...

Friday, August 28, 2020

Hotter 'N Hell Today With No Hotter 'N Hell 100

Screenshot from my phone on this last Friday of the 2020 version of August.

The Hotter 'N Hell 100 should have been happening now, but it was canceled months ago due to the Trump Pandemic.

If I remember right, and sometimes I do, last year's Hotter 'N Hell 100 was not HOT, with the temperature being in the 90s. With rain, again, if I am remembering right.

108 is a bit warm. Not the hottest I've ever experienced, but HOT enough.

The A/C seems to be working well. It shuts off every once in awhile to take a break.

I have the A/C set at 76.

At my old home location in the Puget Sound zone of Western Washington, an outdoor temperature of 76 would feel like a heat wave.

I recollect way back in the year 2004 I flew up to Washington, leaving a Texas heated into the 100s. I landed at Sea-Tac and upon exiting the airport and feeling the air for the first time, I shivered.

The temperature was in the low 70s.

The person who picked me up that time took me to Tacoma, where I soon found myself waiting outside something called The Queen's Closest. There was a guy painting the outside of the building.


I was shivering and this guy was shirtless.

Soon I found myself at Fred Meyer's (think Walmart, but way nicer, or it used to be before Krogers bought it) to buy sweatpants and a sweatshirt.

I can not remember when I last felt the need to find my sweatpants. I suspect that need may be arising in a couple months. Sooner if for some reason I find myself up north, in Washington...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Diabetic Empowered Goose Duck Feeding Frenzy At Sikes Lake

Last week someone in my orbit learned diabetes was the reason for mysterious weight loss and swollen feet, among various other maladies.

In addition to a daily dose of something called Metformin, the diabetic's doctor directed that a total change in food intake was needed, basically what is known as the Keto diet is what the doctor prescribed.

I proceeded to help the diabetic get rid of all the stuff which was no longer consumable, all of which is nothing I consume, and so the volume of now non-edibles was either discarded, or done with what I did today.

As in I created a goose duck frenzy at Sikes Lake by tossing shredded wheat and corn squares cereal into the water. I know one is not supposed to feed geese and ducks processed bread products, but my information sources indicated the whole grain cereal was okay.

And the birds seemed to like it. They quickly began arriving from all over the lake.

The non-bird food went into the garbage. I did not seek any other humans who might want what was left of a tub of ice cream, the remains of a box of chocolate chip cookies, apple fritters, pudding, sugar cubes and a plethora of other excessively sugar laden products.

I really don't understand how someone can eat this type stuff in copious volumes and think no harm is being done...

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Hiking Oyster Dome & Samish Island With Spencer Jack's Grandma Cindy

I saw the photo you see above this morning on Facebook, via my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Spencer Jack's Grandma Cindy.

Way back before Grandma Cindy was not my ex-sister-in-law I never thought she would one day become a hiking maniac, because way back when she was married to my little brother hiking just was not her thing to do. Flying all over the world was her thing to do way back then.

The photo today was one of many photos documenting Cindy's trekkers latest trek up a Washington mountain. This hike was to Oyster Dome on Chuckanut Mountain.

Googling "Oyster Dome" we quickly find the following short explanation...

Oyster Dome Trail is a 7.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Burlington, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from April until October.

Burlington is the town I grew up in, in the Skagit Valley. I grew up in a zone with mountains a short distance away. Where I am now there are no mountains, no matter what direction I look.

The photo above had a caption which asked something like "Is that Samish Island?", referring to that hunk of land in the center of the photo.

Looking at it, I can with almost 100% certainty say that that is Samish Island.

Now, at my current location, well, more accurately, about 125 miles southeast of my current location, locals have odd ideas regarding what an island is. Currently the town of Fort Worth is calling a chunk of industrial wasteland "Panther Island" while that chunk of land is not surrounded by water, but may one day be separated from the Fort Worth mainland by a cement lined, water filled, ditch.

So, looking at that photo of Samish Island someone who is not familiar with that island might say, hey, that does not look like an island. I see land connected to it.

And that would be observant of that someone saying such. That is a sort of land bridge, connecting the Washington mainland to Samish Island. Way back when the Skagit Valley was first settled farmers sought to increase the acreage of arable land by holding back the sea with dikes, which is what makes for that land bridge to Samish Island.

Looking at the rest of that photo you see other islands, the names of which I know only one, that being Fidalgo Island, which is the large land mass you see in the background. That bump on that large land mass is Mount Erie, another great hiking location.

Fidalgo Island is where Anacortes is located, to the right in the photo. That is where Spencer Jack's dad, Jason's, restaurant, the Fidalgo Drive-In is located.

There are a few bridges that one can use to get on and off Fidalgo Island. One of those bridges is the Deception Pass Bridge, which crosses to another island, named Whidbey. Fidalgo Island is one of the few islands in the world which have an island on the island, in this case the island that is in Lake Campbell, which is hovered over by the aforementioned Mount Erie.

The Deception Pass Bridge was built way back in the 1930s. Built over extremely fast moving, deep, tidal water.

Built in one year.

Such is one of the multiple reasons I find Fort Worth's inability to build three simple little bridges over dry land to be so pitifully bizarre. Those Fort Worth bridges started construction way back in 2014, with an even then astonishing four year project timeline. These three Fort Worth bridges, being built over dry land, are to connect the Fort Worth mainland to that imaginary island we mentioned previously.

If I remember correctly I have lamented previously regarding the fact that earlier this year I was certain I would be in Washington this summer, enjoying scenic wonders, clean air and water, my nephews and niece, seafood, blackberries and a lot of other stuff I miss having easy access to.

Well, maybe next summer...

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Today's Shady Walk Around Sikes Lake Without Wally Washington Or Linda Lou

I did not realize til someone called to check in on me that it has been over a week since I have done the blogging thing. It had not crossed my mind that such was the case. It ain't like there hasn't been anything of interest happening, it is just that the interesting things happening are not anything I feel inclined to verbalize in this particular venue.

Today I opted not to roll my bike wheels anywhere, but instead took myself on a walk around my neighborhood's body of water known as Sikes Lake.

I had last been to this location last Wednesday. At that point in time I was rolling my bike wheels. I stopped at the gazebo you see on the right. Linda Lou had called earlier when it was not convenient to operate my phone, so I thought stopping at the gazebo to call Linda Lou back, from a pleasant shady location, sounded like a good idea.

I stopped my bike next to that picnic table you see under the gazebo, got my phone out of the container it rides in on the bike, and just as soon as I touched the phone it made its incoming call noise. I figured it was Linda Lou, but I figured wrong.

It was Wally Washington calling.

It had been a long time since I last talked to Wally Washington. So, that turned into a long call before I got around to calling Linda Lou back.

Wally Washington was calling to inquire about his relative who had been hospitalized that morning. Come to think of it, that was also what Linda Lou was calling about.

The hospital thing is one of those interesting things I aforementioned, the details of which I have not felt like detailing in this particular forum.

Talking to Wally Washington was fun, not having done so in such a long time. We have a significant number class reunion coming up next summer. I asked Wally if he planned on going. I told Wally I had no desire to attend it, feeling like I probably would have felt in Berlin in 1936, with a reunion of my class at Berlin High School coming up, with me not wanting to attend, due to 30% of my school peers being Nazis with kids in the Hitler Youth, the other 30% ambivalent about the ongoing nightmare, and the remaining 40% being oppressed Social Democrats, such as myself.

This seems to be an apt analogy to me.

I have long been appalled at the reactionary, ignorant, ill-informed, right wing idiocy I see spewed from some with whom I attended school. I never thought of these sorts as smart way back then, yet still finding it sad to see such embarrassing evidence that the stupid don't get smarter, they just grow more obviously ignorant as the years pass.

And become Trump supporters. And Republicans. Or worse...

Friday, August 14, 2020

Wichita Falls Rolling Through Lucy Park Tall Prairie Grass

I rolled my motorized means of locomotion to Lucy Park this morning to have myself a mighty fine time rolling my non-mechanized wheels for a long commune with somewhat shady nature.

I don't know if that tall green grass you see on either side of my bike's handlebars is prairie tall grass of the sort which covered the Plains part of the United States back when the buffalo roamed and the deer and the antelope played.

What I do know is the grass was taller than me. And my latest driver's license claims I am 6 feet tall. The driver's license also claims I have brown hair.

The trees of Lucy Park and all that tall grass makes for a cooling effect mitigating the current HOT time we are having in North Texas. Day after day in the triple digits. With humidity. A cold front is supposed to arrive next week bringing a 20 degree chill, and maybe some rain.

I have been asked a time or two, by non-Texans, why Lucy Park is so named. One asked me if the park was named after Lucille Ball.

Today I came upon a rock upon which a plaque had been stuck, which explains quite succinctly why Lucy Park is so named.

On the above plaque, attached to that aforementioned rock, we learn "The City of Wichita Falls gratefully acknowledges the generous contribution of Lucy Park by Frances Ann Dickinson in memory of her mother Lucy O'Neill Saunders for whom the park is named."

Previously to seeing this plaque I had learned where Lucy Park got its name. And that Lucy O'Neill Saunders was a J.R. Ewing oil mogul type who made her fortune owning a couple oil producing areas. I remember one was up north in Oklahoma. I assume the other one was in Texas, likely in the Wichita Falls area.

And now it is time to make a Chinese stir-fry for lunch...

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ruby & Theo Saltwater Swim While Hank Frank Bats

Yesterday I exchanged multiple text messages with my various siblings. In addition to talking to one of my siblings via the old-fashioned talking on the phone method. It was on that old-fashioned phone call I learned I needed to save a date in May on which I was expected to be in Mexico. Cabo San Lucas to be precise.

On that same phone call I told my Arizona sister that our little brother had been having trouble sending photos to my phone. Last week Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa, my little brother, Jake, braved the COVID dangers and flew Alaskan to his old home zone in Washington.

My Arizona sister rode with me to Lucy Park yesterday. That's when we talked on the phone. When I finally got to the bike ride part of the excursion, about a mile into riding, my phone made that incoming message noise. I braked the bike at a shady spot to check who was texting. It was my sister, somehow managing to send the photos my brother was unable to send.

That is one of those photos you see below.

That is Hank Frank getting baseball training from his grandpa. Apparently we are seeing the part of the training where Hank Frank learns how to hold a bat. I assume the orange cone is to serve a T-ball purpose, with the ball sitting atop the cone whilst Hank Frank learns to swing the bat at it.

I forgot to explain what that photo at the top is. That was from David, Theo and Ruby's mama Michele. The text said "Your crazy niece and her twin."

That would make that Theo and Ruby cooling off in the Puget Sound saltwater which surrounds Harstine Island, which is where the Tacoma Trio and their parental units are spending most of the summer.

Harstine Island has a community pool. But, due to that COVID menace it is closed. But the shallow waters of this part of Puget Sound warm up enough to make for a mighty fine playing in the water experience.

I do not know what David's position is on the issue of playing in the saltwater surrounding Harstine Island.

In August of 2017 it was discovered that David had some issues regarding the creatures which lurked in the water.

This was at Birch Bay, a location with much shallower water than that surrounding Harstine Island. When the tide goes low the tidal flats at Birch Bay extend a long distance, and so on a warm day the exposed sand gets heated, so when the tide rolls back in that heats transfers to the water, with that water getting as warm as bathwater.

At Birch Bay David's worries about what was in the water reached a high pitch when we found ourselves being chased by a large Dungeness crab.

I may have not helped matters when I mentioned that octopi also live in the Puget Sound and surrounding saltwater zones. David asked about sharks, and I could not tell a lie, and so I told him that there are a lot of sharks, and more often than not when fishing for salmon or cod it is a shark you reel in. I also tried to calm David down by explaining that Birch Bay was probably too shallow for any big shark to be in the water.

If it weren't for the COVID nightmare, I would have been able to determine via eye witnessing if David does brave the water that surrounds Harstine Island...

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Panther Island Board Wants No Feasibility Study Of Fort Worth's Embarrassing Boondoggle

Yesterday the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had what seemed to me to be a rather bizarre editorial about the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle.

As you can see, via the above screen cap, the editorial was titled Panther Island board gambles by turning down federal study money. Will it pay off?

I did not know there was an entity called the Panther Island board.

Let's take a look at this editorial and see if we can make any sense of it...

The first three paragraphs---

Imagine that you’re trying to persuade your uncle to invest in a major project that you’ve been working on for nearly two decades.

And suppose your uncle — let’s call him Sam — wants a detailed study of your idea before fully committing to invest. The study will be expensive, but just a fraction of the total you’re seeking, and he’ll pay half the cost of the review if you match it.

Worth it? Apparently not to the board overseeing Fort Worth’s Panther Island flood-control project.

Okay, hasn't this feasibility study issue come up before? Wasn't there a bit of a scandal when it was learned that this necessary step had not been taken, due to Kay Granger thinking she could ramrod this project through committee hearings and thus get the needed funding. And didn't some opine that the reason there had been no feasibility study was because there really was no way to make a case that this was a vitally needed flood control project, where there had been no flooding in well over half a century? And that any sort of feasibility study would reveal that the Trinity River Vision was actually an economic development scheme which would benefit multiple Fort Worth natives, including Kay Granger.

Continuing on with the editorial---

The consultant that the Trinity River Vision Authority board hired to coordinate the project, Mark Mazzanti, recommended that the panel ignore the $1.5 million offer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a feasibility study. The goal is for the corps to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to dig a bypass channel for the river, eliminating the risk of a disastrous flood and creating an island of prime real estate with business and recreational opportunities.

But local officials have always insisted that an economic impact study isn’t necessary because the flood-control imperative is clear and Congress has signed off on the project. And the entities who are partners on the project have already been squabbling over more local spending, so the $1.5 million to match the Corps funding is significant, especially during a recession.

Mazzanti explained Friday that, in essence, the request for the study is odd because it’s out of the usual order of business for a Corps project. A feasibility study usually precedes congressional authorization of a project.

I thought this Mazzanti guy was hired to replace Kay Granger's hapless son because Mazzanti was a retired Army Corps of Engineers person who would be able to unravel the mess that the Trinity River Vision had become. And it has long been known that there should have been a feasibility study. Wasn't that part of what came out of the Riveron Review which Fort Worth's mayor, Betsy Price, initiated when she became frustrated by the slow motion progress of what had become an embarrassing Boondoggle?

Again this editorial repeats the nonsense that this project eliminates the risk of a disastrous flood and that no study is needed because the flood-control imperative is clear.

 As we have already said, over and over again, the area in question has not flooded in well over a half a century due to flood control measures already in place, in the form of levees the Army Corps of Engineers built back in the 1950s.

And if there really was a risk of a disastrous flood, with the flood-control imperative clear, then why has this project been going on for two decades, with that supposedly vitally needed flood control no where near being a reality?

And then there is this paragraph---

Mazzanti and the board have a point. The trouble is, who can say at this point what the strategy is to finally get the river channel dug? What happens if the waiting game stretches on? And might the decision to decline the study read as a sign that local project leaders fear it would reflect poorly on the economic need or environmental impact of the proposal?

Uh, it seems sort of obvious that the reason there has been no feasibility study done is because a legitimate study would show there is no vitally needed flood control element, and that the flood control element was just a scheme to wrap an inept economic development scheme around.

The editorial continues on with more illogical nonsense, ending with a one sentence paragraph which actually makes sense---

But Fort Worth will have to wait still longer for leaders from City Hall to the regional water authority to Washington to figure out a way out of this mess.

Now that is a rare instance of accurately describing the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle by acknowledging it is a mess.

With no end in sight...

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Two Devils With Angel Faces

This morning on Facebook, via Tacoma's Queen V, I learned I was Louise to Queen V's Thelma, and that we are 112% compatible.

I then took the same extensive test, with the same result, only when I took the same extensive test we learn Queen V and I are 161% compatible.

I do not know why there is such a wide compatibility discrepancy.

I also do not know how this extensive test was able to so accurately turn me into a dress wearing, long haired Louise, with lipstick.

I do understand why Queen V and myself are so compatible.

We are both extremely easy to get along with. We both have highly evolved senses of humor. We share the same political views, both being liberal progressive sorts from the blue state of Washington. We both have exquisitely good taste, well, actually, Queen V's exquisitely good taste is much more elevated than mine.

Now that we have learned we are so compatible Queen V and I are planning a roadtrip just as soon as the end of the current pandemic renders doing such to be doable...

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Do Not Climb Mount Wichita On A Horse Named Caution

This morning I rolled my bike's wheels south to Lake Wichita for the first time in a long while. Months ago I had had an incident of encountering way too many flying bugs bugging me as I rolled across Lake Wichita dam on the Circle Trail, followed by even more bugs bugging me when the Circle Trail got close to the lake.

But, that was a couple months ago and the heat of summers seems to have reduced the flying bug population. So, I had myself a mighty fine time riding my bike today. Even the temperature was pleasant, barely into the 80s, with that chill feeling like a hint of the fall which will soon arrive.

In that photo above you are looking at Mount Wichita. Some do not think this is a mountain, and instead refer to it as a hill.

Hence the sign which says...


Every time I see this sign I think the same thing, as in the sign is telling me to ride a horse to the summit.

My first Texas abode was a small ranch type venue in the north Fort Worth suburb of Haslet. That small ranch type venue had two cows (quickly sold) replaced by three horses shipped in from Washington.

I do not remember the name of all the horses, but I do remember the name of one of them.

A horse named Caution.

Caution tried to kill me my one and only time of trying to ride that beast. It was the 4th of July of the year 2000.

The mistress of the house insisted I should learn to ride a horse so I could join in on the horse rides. I got on Caution, rode the beast out of the barn, but I had no control, the steering mechanism would not work, Caution kept returning to the barn.

At high speed.

On one of those returns Caution ducked under the partially closed barn door, almost causing me to be knocked off. On the final attempt to kill me Caution galloped into the corral deal which was attached to the barn, which had a narrow entry, not meant to be ridden into. My legs were squeezed tight against the corral fence, or whatever one calls it. I was able to free myself before my legs were torn off.

It was then determined that the reason for Caution's behavior was the beast was trying to get back to the carrot which that aforementioned mistress of the house had strategically left in the barn, knowing that Caution would try and get back to that carrot, and would be unruly in the process.

It was on that 4th of July that I began to feel like my life was in danger the longer I remained in Haslet. I soon found new, safer, accommodations in a location with no horses...