Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wichita Falls Blue Sky After Powerless Night

Yesterday in the late afternoon time frame, sometime around five, unpredicted stormy weather arrived in the form of wind, rain and lightning bolts.

Soon after the arrival of the unpredicted stormy weather the electricity went into on and off mode, short bursts of no power.

And then around six the power went off and stayed off until after nine.

Yesterday was the first time since I've been in Wichita Falls the power grid has gone into malfunction mode. Such was a frequent occurrence at my previous Texas location in Fort Worth.

Yesterday's downpour poured down the most rain I've seen since I've been at my current location. By the time the sun finished its daily illumination duty I could see my abode was pretty much surrounded by a moat.

Eventually I tired of sitting in the dark and sought out my hip waders so as to make my way through the moat to my motorized transit device in order to drive to Walmart, if possible.

It was a dramatic journey through deep water, at times. Police acted as traffic lights, using flash lights. This looked sort of dangerous, what with visibility so poor and what with lightning bolts striking in every direction.

Eventually I made it to Walmart, where too much water had caused one entry to be closed. Inside Walmart most of the leaks had a bucket in place to catch the water. Thunder always seems extra loud when inside a Walmart. Last night the Walmart was eerily quiet, except for the extra loud thunder booms.

This morning I walked over to the Circle Trail to see if Holliday Creek was still in raging torrent mode like I saw last night. Nope. By morning Holliday Creek was back in slow mosey mode, which you can sort of see via the photo documentation above.

More storming is in the current 7 day forecast. I am hoping the forecast is wrong...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bug Free Mount Wichita Summit Hike

Til today it had been a long time since I found myself strenuously hiking to the summit of Mount Wichita.

Was it way back last winter, when the summit turned out to be so icy cold and windy, that I decided hiking the only mountain in town was no longer a mighty fine fun thing to do?

Or was it getting too many bug bites way back when last spring sprung which caused the bloom to fade off the Mount Wichita bloom?

Maybe it was when once again bike riding became my primary source of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation that I ceased with the mountain climbing.

I probably should keep some sort of diary, or record of some sort, in order to be able to answer such important questions as when last I hiked to the summit of Mount Wichita.

Today I did manage to take a picture which does justice to how steep the slope to the summit of Mount Wichita is.

That photo doing justice to the steepness was taken on today's second assault on the Mount Wichita summit. This is on the west side of the mountain.

Today's first assault on the Mount Wichita summit came via the eastern trail to the top. That trail has had some wildfire activity, starting at ground level, burning all the way to the summit, part of which you can see below.

I have no way of knowing if this was a man caused conflagration, or if the burn was the result of a lightning strike.

Via the view from the summit, which you see below, you are looking southeast at Lake Wichita, and you can see a little of the aforementioned burn zone, near the bottom of the mountain.

One of the reasons I was in hiking mode today was due to the fact that getting aerobic stimulation via the biking mode was not available, due to the fact that the bike is in need of a doctor's care. The rear wheel had a bad reaction to a steep cement slope at the Sikes Lake spillway on Sunday, rendering the wheel wobbly. That and breaking four spokes.

Due to a recent outbreak of multiple bug bites I covered myself in anti-bug spray prior to going mountain climbing today. This turned out to be not needed because a bug grounding wind was blowing hard. I like it when a bug grounding wind is blowing hard whilst mountain climbing, but not so much when riding a bike.

My bike should be out of intensive care tomorrow. I hope....

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Rolling My Wheels Past Midwestern State University Desegregation American Idiocracy Reminder

I enjoy rolling my bike's wheel on the MSU (Midwestern State University) when school is not in session, such as a day like today, which is Sunday.

With the children not in school it makes for a much less busy, less congested college campus, hence easy peaceful wheel rolling.

Today I came upon a couple things I had not come across before. One being the fountain you see my handlebars looking at.

Spouting fountains are usually a pleasant restful thing to enjoy for a moment or two. This MSU fountain was no exception to that pleasant restful rule.

After a minute or two of listening to and looking at the fountain I looked to my right, which was to the south, to see a Texas Historical Marker.

What piece of history could this be marking, I wondered? So, I hopped back on board my bike and rolled its handlebars south for a closer look at what this historical marker had to say...

Midwestern University Desegregation

In 1948, Emzy Downing and James O. Chandler, both graduated from the African American High School in Wichita Falls, Booker T. Washington High School, applied for admission to Hardin Junior College, a division of Midwestern University. The Board of Trustees denied their admission. In 1950, with encouragement from local NAACP leader Professor C.E. Jackson, Willie Faye Battle, an honor graduate, applied by mail for admission to the two-year nursing school at Hardin Junior College. She was accepted, but when she and Professor Jackson went to the school to complete the application process, she was denied admission. Subsequently she was accepted to Prairie View A & M University.

In the Fall of 1951, Ms. Battle along with Maryland Virginia Menefee, Helen Muriel Davis, Golden E. Mitchell White, Carl Lawrence McBride and Wilma Jean Norris were encouraged to apply in person. Each applicant received rejected letters in the mail. Following this incident, a meeting was held between the University Board of Trustees and Representatives of the Texas State Council. Alternative solutions were discussed such as a college at Booker T. Washington High School or Midwestern paying the tuition for African American students to attend African American colleges. These alternatives were rejected and a suit was filed in United States District Court, the first of its type. Initially, Battle et al. v. Wichita Falls Junior College Dist., was decided in favor of the students, but, with Appeals and Injunctions, the final decision came through the Supreme Court in 1954, following the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Ruling, the first African American students were enrolled in the Summer of 1954.

Well, we Americans have come a long way since the 1950s. Yet somehow, with the ascendancy of the American Idiocracy, we seem to be falling backwards. Hopefully, this latest iteration of the American Idiocracy will soon cease being ascendant and American Democracy will be back being ascendant....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wichita Falls Circle Trail Handlebar Encounter With Bug Eyed Robot

Yes, those are my bike's handlebars you see here, looking as if they are in some sort of communication with a red bug eyed robotic device.

What the handlebars are actually looking at is one of the bike repair stations on the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

If I remember right I have previously mentioned that Wichita Falls is an extremely bike friendly town. These ubiquitous bike repair stations are an example of this.

This instance of a Circle Trail bike repair station is located in Hamilton Park. Today's bike ride took me on the Circle Trail to Haiti, then the Nassau alley to Sikes Lake, then through the MSU campus, eventually to Harrison from whence a couple other roads take me to the aforementioned Hamilton Park and back to the Circle Trail which I roll all the way back to my abode, making for a multi-mile circle around the Circle Trail.

I returned to my abode to soon learn I had suffered another instance of incompetence. I once again forgot to add water to the rice cooker before turning it on and leaving it to cook without supervision. The rice cooker turns itself off when it detects an incompetent human forgot to add water, so no harm done, except to my confidence in my competence.

Tree, weed and grass pollen are supposedly high. But so far I am not in bad allergy mode. Knock on wood...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Is DFW's Madame X In NYC's Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum?

The day before 9/11 I got a text message informing me that the party sending the message was heading to New York City. I was advised not to reveal this sensitive information. Or to blog about the fact that this person was leaving Texas with NYC as the destination.

As such is what I was advised I shall not name who it was who advised me not to mention NYC was to be this person's location this week. Or the identity of this person.

And so, I shall refer to this temporary New Yorker as Madame X.

Madame X verbalized some nervous trepidation about going from the relative sedate calm of her irregular Texas location to the center of the known universe, New York City, a town which never sleeps, unlike a town like, well, Fort Worth, which rarely wakes up.

I had my phone in mute mode so I did not realize til late this afternoon I had received an urgent text message from Madame X, including the photo you see above, with text simply saying "NYC is stressing me out. Dunno how much more I can take. I may be having a nervous breakdown. Or pizza for dinner."

When Madame X and I communicated about her going to NYC, prior to her departure, with Madame X verbalizing her nervous breakdown fears, I suggested she Google Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum and have their emergency number entered into her phone in case she was in dire need of a straight jacket.

So, what with Madame X not indicating via her text message what it is we are looking at in the above photo, I have no way of knowing if this is the view from her hotel. Or Madame X's room in the Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum.

I suspect clarity on this issue will soon become clear....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

David's 9/11 Happy Birthday Sushi Feast With Raw Scorpions

Last night nephew David called to thank me for that which the postal service had successfully delivered from Texas to Washington for his 9/11 celebration of turning nine years old.

Today some photo documentation of David's Happy Birthday arrived, with the only text explanation for the photos being "David's birthday choices" and "But he still hasn't eaten the scorpion he got at the fair".

The second photo is the one with David holding his un-eaten scorpion.

I did not know David's taste for seafood had expanded to include desert based seafood type creatures.

The fair referred to as the source of David's scorpion would be the Washington State Fair, also known as The Puyallup. (pew-el-up for those who don't know how to pronounce PNW tribal names).

The Puyallup takes place a short distance from David's home zone of Tacoma. In fact I think the city borders of Tacoma and Puyallup likely meet at a point or two. I think it is the Puyallup who operate the big casino which is in Tacoma.

David's Scorpion
Yesterday I mentioned the possibility the next time I'm in Tacoma, of David taking me to the Muckleshoot Casino Resort so as to experience that casino's Friday night seafood buffet, forgetting at that point in time, about the Emerald Queen Casino right in Tacoma.  I am fairly certain the Emerald Queen is a Puyallup operation. I know for certain I have had myself a mighty fine feeding at the Emerald Queen's seafood buffet.

I may remember a mighty fine Emerald Queen seafood  feeding at their buffet, but I recollect liking the Muckleshoot Casino's seafood buffet better, and have indulged in the Muckleshoot buffet version more frequently, likely maybe because its Auburn location is close by during times I stayed in Kent.

Now the absolute best, in my experience, seafood buffet-wise, in a Washington Casino, would be the one to be had far to the north of David's Tacoma location, up in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley, where there are two large casino resorts, one operated by the Skagit tribe, that being the Skagit Casino Resort with its The Market Buffet, the other by the Swinomish.

Both have excellent buffets, with the Skagit one on Bow Hill being the one I have likely partaken of more than any other anywhere. But, the seafood buffet at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge is the absolute best, seafood buffet-wise. The Swinomish do oysters the way my mom did oysters, back when mom did such things as fry oysters.

Speaking of seafood, back to David's Happy Birthday yesterday, let's take a look at the third photo delivered to Texas documenting David's 9 /11.

Sushi. How many nine year olds ask for sushi on their birthday? The above photo was the one with the text telling me these were "David's birthday choices". I can make out the Super Marina Plate of sushi, but I can not identify the pie type on the right, or the liquid product on the left.

Knowing David I doubt the pie type is something as mundane as pumpkin pie. Maybe it is something like sweet potato buttermilk pie. As for the liquid product, I have no guess.

Searching For Dozen Reasons To Lure Amazon To Fort Worth

A few days ago Amazon let the world know they are thinking about building a second company headquarters. HQ2, at some location other than Seattle.

Having recently eye witnessed Seattle in Amazon boomtown mode I can see why Amazon would think it a good idea to open a second headquarters. I don't know how much more booming Seattle can take before bursting, traffic and otherwise.

And then we have sleepy Fort Worth, a town which does nothing fast. A town which has been boondoggling along year after year with an ineptly engineered public works project the public has never approved, known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or America's Biggest Boondoggle.

A few days after the Amazon announcement I was amused by a typical Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda article about the subject, a screen cap of that article's headline is what you see above, "Amazon headquarters in North Texas? Let us count the ways".

 The first paragraph...

It is easy to rattle off a dozen reasons why Fort Worth is a great place to live — world class museums, the Trinity River trails, the world’s largest honky tonk, Joe T. Garcia’s — to name just a few.
Really? It is easy to rattle of a dozen reasons why Fort Worth is a great place to live? And these four examples of the alleged dozen reasons are your examples?

World class museums?

What town wearing its non-provincial big city pants refers to anything in its town as "world class"? World class? As opposed to what? National class? State class? County class? Yes, it is true, Fort Worth has a couple well regarded museums, brought to town early in the previous century after the wives of some local oil barons visited New York City, then returned to Cowtown pouting to their husbands that Fort Worth needed some museums if it was ever gonna be a town of culture. And so Amon Carter, and others, bought some artwork, built some museums in an area upwind from the rancid smelling Stockyards slaughter zone, and called this area the Cultural District, to differentiate it from the rest of the town which lacked culture.

The Trinity River trails?

Yes, in Fort Worth there are paved trails along many miles of the Trinity River. As the Trinity River flows alongside those trails, for the most part, it appears to be more of a big ditch than a river. And the water in that river ditch is murky, polluted, nasty. Not fit for fish, or fishing. This is not a river of the sort those working in the current Amazon headquarters are used to seeing. Nor are the Trinity River trails of the sort those working in the current Amazon headquarters are used to biking, blading and jogging on. Few trees, few if any, amenities. The Trinity Trails are no Burke-Gilman, in other words, words which those who work in the current Amazon headquarters will understand.

The world's largest honky tonk?

Does the Star-Telegram really think Billy Bob's is a big selling point making Fort Worth a great place to live? Or a reason a corporate headquarters might consider moving to Fort Worth?

Joe T. Garcia's?

Okay, one of the four reasons cited I agree with. I am not aware of there being any restaurant like Joe T. Garcia's being located anywhere near the current corporate headquarters of Amazon. Or anywhere in Washington. Joe T. Garcia's is one of the go to places I take any visitor who has never been to DFW or Texas before.

I can not help but wonder what the rest of the dozen reasons are which the Star-Telegram thinks make Fort Worth a great place to live.

One can not be the town's lifeless downtown with zero downtown department stores, with zero downtown vertical malls. How many vertical malls are in the downtown of Amazon's current corporate headquarters? How many department stores? And then there is that sprawling attraction known as Pike Place. Does Fort Worth have anything like Pike Place? Well, there was the Santa Fe Rail Market, but that only lasted a couple weeks.

Has Fort Worth fixed Heritage Park yet? After years of being a boarded up eyesore at the north end of the town's downtown, across the street from the country courthouse. A town which can not upkeep a park dedicated to its heritage really does not seem like much of a viable candidate to which a world class corporation would want to locate.

One of Amazon's new headquarters location criteria is easy access to outdoor recreation. Well, there are no real mountain trails in the DFW neighborhood. There are no ski resorts a short distance away. No cruise ships or ferry boats docking anywhere nearby.

Like to walk? Most Fort Worth streets have no sidewalks. Don't most world class cities with world class museums have world class sidewalks?

Fort Worth is particularly ill served by city parks. Most of which lack modern plumbing. And modern restrooms. Yet proudly sport an astonishing variety of outhouses. World class outhouses.

I recently spent time in Tacoma and Chandler, Arizona. Both towns, much smaller than Fort Worth, have multiple public pools. Pools with wave features and lazy rivers. Fort Worth has no such thing. But, the town does have happy hour inner tube floats, with music, in summer, in the polluted Trinity River.

Speaking of America's Biggest Boondoggle. Maybe if that ill fated much needed flood control economic development scheme had been actualized the way things get actualized in actual world class cities Fort Worth would currently be making use of its new fake waterfront, little lake, canals, whilst driving across its three little bridges connecting the town's mainland to an imaginary island.

And, if in 2017, the Trinity River Vision were something someone, like Amazon, or anyone, could actually see, maybe Amazon might consider making its $5 billion investment on that imaginary island.

Wouldn't that be something...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Good New Circle Trail Bridge Over Dribbling Wichita Falls

A week or so ago I read somewhere that the long awaited completion of the new Circle Trail bridge over Wichita Falls had been completed, and was ready to be crossed.

That and the upgraded, widened Circle Trail relocation under the I-287 freeway was also ready to be ridden.

And that Wichita Falls was once again turned on and falling water into the Wichita River.

So, needing to return books and get some new ones, this morning I took myself to downtown Wichita Falls, to the library to conduct some book business.

After which I removed my bike from its temporary back of the truck location and rolled my wheels from the library over the easy streets of beautiful downtown Wichita Falls, through the MPEC parking lots til I got to the Circle Trail.

By the time the 287 freeway came into view I could see the new trail was ready and waiting for me.

Soon after crossing under the freeway I got off the bike and took the picture you see of my handlebars aiming toward Wichita Falls and the new bridge over the falls.

I was not the only person visiting Wichita Falls today, as you can see below.

In the above location I am standing on the east end of the new bridge over Wichita Falls, looking west at a group of moms at the other end of the bridge. The moms were a trio of smokers who were pushing their kids in roller strollers. Smoking and pushing kids in roller strollers seemed sort of contradictory to me.

Wichita Falls did not seem to be falling at full falls today. The falls seemed sort of to be in dribble mode. When I first got near to the falls I thought they were turned off because I was not hearing the waterfall roar I have heard previous times when visiting Wichita Falls.

The Wichita Falls upgrade to the Circle Trail is a nice improvement. Now if only those three missing pieces of the Circle Trail's circle could be filled in, that would be a real good thing...

9/11 Anniversary Of 9 Year Old Nephew David's Birthday

On this day 16 years ago America and the rest of the world woke up to find America under attack.

Since that day America has been a nation perpetually at war, to varying degrees.

American children born after 9/11/2001 have never known an America which is not an America at war.

My nephew, David, is one of those children. 9/11, is David's birthday.

Today David is nine years old.


That is David you see above, sidled up to a fish bar, enjoying a libation whilst waiting for his order of calamari and tempura fried jalapeno rings. This fish bar is located in Tacoma, at Point Ruston.

I've never known a kid to be as big a fan of seafood as David is. During the course of my week in Washington last month I saw David consume the aforementioned calamari at Point Ruston, dungeness crab at Duke's in Tukwila, a big bowl of steamed clams at Birch Bay, and on various non-restaurant seafoodings I saw David smacking down smoked salmon, sushi, cod, oysters on the half shell and razor clam strips.

Next time I'm in Tacoma maybe I will get to take David to the Friday seafood buffet at the Muckleshoot Casino Resort for a Happy Birthday feeding...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rolling Over MSU Paved Trail Maze Finding Colorful Mustang

I saw that which you see here this Sunday morning during the course of taking my handlebars on a roll around the neighborhood.

Sunday is not a school day, which makes Sunday a good day to ride my bike on the maze of paved trails (aka sidewalks) one finds on the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus.

Today one of those paved trails took me to the colorful horse you see here, standing on its hind legs. I believe this horse is a Mustang. You see variations of this all over Wichita Falls.

A Mustang is the MSU mascot.

I would think a Bicycle would make for a more appropriate MSU mascot. I don't think I've seen a live horse since I have been in this town. Not even in the 4th of July parade.

Wichita Falls is a bike friendly town. One of the more bike friendly towns I've ever biked in.

The Texas town I previously sort of lived in, Fort Worth, was not a bike friendly, or pedestrian friendly town.

Leaving my abode in Fort Worth I had to drive somewhere to find a decent paved trail to roll my bike wheels on.

Leaving my abode in Wichita Falls I am just a few feet from the Circle Trail, which is a paved trail about ten feet wide. From the Circle Trail I can opt to roll through the maze of paved alleys which course through my Caribbean neighborhood, usually taking the Nassau alley option to get to the paved trail which takes me to the paved trail which rolls around Sikes Lake.

That was the route I took today, to Sikes Lake, then crossed Midwestern Boulevard to roll around the MSU campus paved trails.

On an entirely different note. Usually I am mostly immune to getting bug bites. Currently my immunity seems not to be working. At this point in time I have five big bug bites. I do not think they are mosquito bites. I have not had one of those since I have been in Texas. I used to get mosquito bitten in Washington, so I know what those bites looked like. Maybe Texas skeeters are a different, bigger version which leaves a different, bigger bite mark.

I have just added bug spray to my shopping list...