Friday, September 26, 2008

Another hike

Chris had the day off, so out of the house we went to Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. It's the best hike we've done by far, and I think we were out there for 3-1/2 hours and hiked almost 5 miles. And yes, we are completely exhausted, thank you for asking. We managed to make it out there with lots of food and homemade sports drink, so we held up much better than last week on the trails at LLELA (where we barely went two miles). All the pictures (21 in total) can be found at Backcountry Peripatetic, so make sure and check that out if you haven't yet. Here are the highlights.

This is where the "& Refuge" comes from: The bison herd. I was so thrilled to see them!

We saw 4 armadillos on the trail. I think this is a great shot. Make sure to click on the picture and blow it up to see him well.

We saw two deer: a little one was on the road as we were driving (alive, not dead on the side of the road, just for clarification), and this one was on the trail. It's kind of hard to see her in the picture, but she was pretty interested in us like we were in her. As we got closer, she snorted loudly (I didn't know anything could snort that loudly) and bounded off. What a treat!

In a show of fantastic timing, the shutter clicked just as this blue heron spread its wings. I could've died happy right then! If anyone knows how to get this picture on my headstone, then make it happen!

And finally, Mom, I hope this settles the "What is bluestem?" debate that continues at your place of work. ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blast from the past

Do you ever have trouble getting up in the morning or falling asleep at night? Yesterday morning came mighty early for me (as we headed to Dallas for our psych evaluations), and I noticed I was so out of it that I could've used deodorant for toothpaste, yet my mind was still busy rifling through the deepest corners of my long-term memory. The craziest stuff that I hadn't thought of in years kept popping into my mind! I wish that mental energy had been put to use properly making my toilette (not toilet, gutter-brains!) instead of dredging up ridiculous songs, but at least it made my morning interesting.

Same thing happened again last night when I was on the verge of sleep (3 hour naps in the afternoon will really throw you off). The most random thing popped into my head, and I spent my morning seeking it out to provide you with this blast from the past. It was actually pretty hard to find the non-tricked up original, but I was finally successful. So by all means, click here, no questions asked, and see if you remember this inanity.

(Told you it was random.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall!

Yep, the first day of my favorite season is finally here, and it'll only be 87 today! It could be worse, I know, but it was in the 70s last week and now I'm all spoiled. Wouldn't mind if that would happen again sometime soon!

Anyway, I've set up a picture website where you can see all the photos I've taken while hiking! I only put a small sampling of them on here because I'm too lazy to wait for Blogger to work (and I can only upload 5 photos at once), but here you'll be able to see every last one of them! It looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Backcountry Peripatetic

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Doozy of a hike

We did make it to LLELA after church. I'd love to tell you about it, but I'm so utterly bushed (which means that I'm tired, not that I'm on top of the wardrobe with giant eyes and all the fur on my tail standing on end) that the word's just aren't coming. Pictures?

I also saw two creatures I've been dying to see. We certainly don't lack for snowy egrets here, but today I saw one being chased by none other than a blue heron! Of course, by the time the camera was ready they'd parted ways. He's hiding in the next two pictures. The last picture ... well, bonus points to anyone who knows what that space alien of a mammal is (yes, the one surrounded by a field of poison oak)! ;)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another fine day out

We went back to the nature preserve today. I got to see and tiny blue lizard that was too fast to take a picture of and a little snack whose picture didn't come out clearly. So much for that. It's a great place, but two things make it annoying: the nearby soccer fields filled with loud children and the nearby shooting range. The former reminds you that you're not really out in the wilderness; the latter makes you fear for your life a little. But enough of that--who wants pictures?

New and more interested pictures--we're heading out to the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA--we pronounce it "yela") for another hike after church. Should be fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thoughts on a Texas State Park

Now that I'm all into hiking, I was looking at pictures of Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle. Palo Duro is too intense a hike for lame little me to handle right now, but it's still a looker of a state park. But then I stumbled upon one picture that made me smile:

This picture is proof that my sense of humor is God-given. If I were Giganto Chandler instead of a short little stump of a human being, I'd set large, flat rocks on top of plateaus as well. Then I'd run away quickly and hope that someone would see it, scratch their noggins, and proclaim it to be a wonder of nature. Those things are called "hoodoos", by the way, and I can't imagine coming up with a better name.

Isn't nature amazing?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

RIP Game Cube

Last year, for a crazy combo birthday/Christmas/way-to-go-you-actually-got-a-job gift, I bought Chris a Nintendo Game Cube. The system itself was $90, it was used, and it was missing a lot of pieces. So we became acquainted with our local Game Stop (located in the same shopping center as Target and Petco) and amassed the other pieces we needed so we could have new ways to waste our time. We then acquired, over the past year, a modest little collection of games that consists entirely of Mario and Zelda games (hey, I know what I like): Some were busts, some were fantastic, and some where next to impossible (Twilight Princess).

But then the Game Cube began to act funny. It would wig out on the ancient games (Zeldas 1 and 2). Then Wind Waker started freezing ... then it began to freeze a lot (every two minutes). Then getting Ocarina of Time not to freeze after 5 minutes was like pulling teeth. After a while, we were relegated to two games: The oldest, Mario Sunshine, and the newest, Twilight Princess. When TP started freezing, we had to face reality. Our Game Cube was not having a natural reaction to dusty, scratched-up discs (my gosh, it looks like the cats used Wind Waker as a scratch post!)--the Game Cube was suffering from a terminal illness.

TP is now down to five minutes between wig-outs, Ocarina of Time lasted about two seconds into the opening credits (never even got to the start menu), and the only game that's never frozen is Mario Sunshine ... which I'm tired of playing. The ol' Game Cube is all but brain dead now. Next comes the tough part: To replace or to upgrade?

The upside to the Wii is that I can still have all the old games I acquired: Zelda 1, Zelda 2, and Ocarina of Time. I can also get the vintage Mario games, the prospect of which has me all slack-jawed and happy-drooling (my eyes kinda glaze over too--it's real creepy). There's also A Link to the Past, which is hailed by those nerds in the know as the awesomest Zelda game ever. The downsides are, of course, the cost, as well as the absence of Wind Waker, the best game evereverever (try looking that word up in your Funk & Wagnalls).

Meanwhile, replacing a Game Cube just got easier. Those nuts who spent hundreds of dollars on Wiis at Christmas really drove down the price on the Game Cube. Remember how I got a used Game Cube for $90? Does a brand new one for $59 do anything for ya? Sure does for me. I still have the lingering fear that the thing will go mental after a short period of time, but then again there's no telling how long mine had been used before being welcomed into my home (ostensibly to live out its final days).

Anyway, I'm off to make some choices and funeral arrangements for the Game Cube. An unceremonious dumping into an electronics recycle bin sounds like the best bet. Apologies all around for the esoteric post, and kudos to those with even an inkling of an idea of what I'm talking about. (Coming soon, a post on my Action Replay dilemma.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

People like to panic

There's a hurricane in the process of covering up my parent's house right now. Where we are (a few hundred miles away) there are packed grocery store parking lots and gas stations are running out of fuel. As I look out the window next to me I see a moderate rainstorm with some equally moderate winds.

Hurricanes lose force fairly quickly after they make landfall, which means that the worst thing that is likely to happen to us here is the wind dislodges a dead/dying tree branch and it falls on a powerline and we lose electricity for a few hours. Boo-hoo.

I hope my family is okay, I haven't called them yet, but the tail end of the storm is still over the north side of Houston, so it's not completely over for them yet. I'm sure they're fine, they did what they were told to do to stay safe, and will probably be so.

I really don't understand the reaction of many people around here. It won't do much of anything this far away from the coast. Here's a lesson kids: when preparing for severe weather, take into account what is actually possible. If you live in the south on the coast, be prepared for hurricanes. If you live in the north, be prepared for massive snow in the winter that stays for weeks or months on end. If it's never happened before where you are, chances are it's not going to happen to you now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ah, the political season

I've never voted before, which is a shame, seeing as how I'm 25 and well past the age of 18. I seem to enjoy observing politics more than participating in it. But I have written to my legislators before on matters of import. Kudos to me for that, right?

There's one thing that really gets to me about politics in America, and it's not the polemical nature of things. In college, I read a play by Bertolt Brecht called The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The premise of this little known play is that Hitler's rise to power could have been prevented if the people had shown any initiative to stop it. I don't think we're in danger of electing a new Hitler (and I'm not so taken in by any political party that I think the opposition gets political advice from Satan), but the similarities between the American voter and Arturo Ui are still striking. Recently I was surprised at my own strong reaction when someone on the radio, after Obama selected Joe Biden to be his running mate, summed it up by saying, "They're all crooks."

Who's ready for a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon?
Calvin: When I grow up, I'm not going to read the newspaper and I'm not going to follow complex issues and I'm not going to vote. That way I can complain that the government doesn't represent me. Then, when everything goes down the tubes, I can say the system doesn't work and justify my further lack of participation.

Hobbes: An ingeniously self-fulfilling plan.

Calvin: It's a lot more fun to blame than to fix things.

Joe Biden, by the way, has never had a financial or sex scandal. If the guy on the radio had read past the headline, he might have known that. Machine politics has all but disappeared (Chicago remains a hold-out), so isn't it our own fault if politicians are crooks? Are we really consigned to lousy representatives, or do we choose it because caring is too hard?

Kinda heavy-handed today. I hope Calvin & Hobbes lightened it up a little. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008


One of the important parts of being Orthodox is spending Sundays well, especially if you've taken Communion. We've failed utterly in this respect. But in a bid to get us to do more than plonk down on the couch and watch TV all afternoon and evening after church (or, even more likely, nap), we've implemented a new policy: Get the heck outta Dodge.

Last weekend we went to the Dallas Arboretum and strolled around for two whole hours. Yesterday we were supposed to go hiking. I was so exhausted that we just couldn't swing it, so we went today. We also meant to go to a place in the south of Dallas (do not confuse this with the very unsafe South Dallas), but we opted for a church picnic and went to the little nature preserve in town.

An interesting nugget about where we went: The Elm Fork Nature Preserve was purchased as a woodright in 1861 by the Bramblitt Family. The land was never clear-cut and in 1986 the 40 acres were given to the city of Carrollton as a self-contained ecosystem, virtually undisturbed.

But enough of that--I know what you really want: