Saturday, June 09, 2007

Six Flags and soapboxes

Back to Six Flags

To celebrate L's birthday, I offered to take her and one of her friends to Six Flags last Monday. We had a pretty good time... weekdays are definitely the days to go if you want to beat the crowds. We rode the Titan, Mr. Freeze, Batman, and the Shock Wave -- all without having to wait more than two or three minutes in line! Some of the other rides had a bit of a wait, and the lines started getting longer in the mid-afternoon when some thunderstorms rolled in and the park began shutting things down. Still, we had an enjoyable day... and I might even make it back there again before the summer's over.

First ride of the day - a giant spinning hat

The girls display their Dr. Evil impressions.

Riding the Sidewinder

Plymouth switch engine near the Texas Giant

My first ride on Mr. Freeze. Not a good time to wonder if roller coasters ever get broken rails...

Bad weather brought an early end to our day...

Other scenes from the past week...

Rainbow over Whiskey's back yard. Monday, June 4

Barn swallows have built a nest on our back patio. Their eggs hatched a week or so ago...

An investigation revealed this yard derailment on M's Brio layout was caused by an RCO job...
Whiskey's cycling soapbox
What's the damn deal with the idiots who like to blow their horns or yell out their car windows at me when I'm riding my bike? Did their parents raise them to be total douchebags or did it just happen by accident? During the North Texas Classic in Saginaw, I was riding on Bailey-Boswell Road approaching the start/finish area and a guy passing by in a pickup truck yelled at me out the window, "faggot!" Similar experiences happen to me about once or twice a week during my rides. I notice they always do it when they're speeding by me at like 45 mph (never when they're stopped), forcing me to conclude that the size of their cojones must be inversely proportional to the volume of their voice. Some people need to get a life.

Whiskey's shopping soapbox

After being yelled at on my bike, there's nothing like a visit to our local Wal-Mart to help reaffirm my faith in American society. On Friday, M joined me for a trip to the Wally-World to do some grocery shopping. (Can you say "white trash meltdown"?) Friday's adventure began before we even entered the store -- a lady in a minivan full of kids was blocking the aisle in the parking lot waiting for a good spot to open up. It didn't matter that the driver of the departing car was taking 10 minutes to load her groceries and then take her cart to one of the cart bays, or that traffic was backing up behind her, OR that there were other perfectly good spots less than a hundred feet away -- no, she was going to wait for the GOOD spot. After we finally made it inside the store, moms with kids agonized over which variety of hot dog buns to purchase (just F*&$ING PICK ONE and get out of the way, all right?) and other shoppers blocked aisles as they stood there yammering away on their cell phones talking about God knows what. When the hell did people become so self-absorbed and self-centered that they fail to notice how they're inconveniencing those around them? For God's sake, people, show a little CONSIDERATION! We were lucky on this trip that we chose a checkout line where no one in front of us wanted to haggle about prices, or take 10 minutes of our time while they sorted through their coupons. That always seems to happen when we shop at Albertsons. And K wonders why I hate to go grocery shopping... or for that matter, why I hate to even leave the house...

"Clusterf*ck, Texas" revisited

bek responded to my "Clusterf*ck, Texas" comments from June 2nd, " I hate it as much as you do, Whiskey... I only came to Texas because my job is here. It was interesting for the first few years, but in the last five or six years, I'm started to really hate the place."
I answer,
Don't get me wrong... I love Texas, love being able to say I'm from Texas, love living in Texas (most of the time), love the fact that my kids are native Texans even if I'm not. There are some wonderful things about our state and some great places to live, even if the D-FW area is no longer one of them. Obviously, Dallas-Ft Worth has become a victim of its own success and desirability as a place to live. Yet, for some reason, out-of-staters continue to trip over each other in their rush to move here (our neighbors include families who have moved here from Maryland and California). And even with all the negative aspects of living here, you could do a lot worse.

I remember a few years ago when one of my co-workers retired, he sent out an email to our whole office strongly criticizing the company for "making" him move to such a godforsaken and ass-backwards place. He announced that happiness would be seeing Texas in his rear-view mirror as he hauled ass back home -- to Nebraska! (Oh, the irony!)
I was tempted to respond (to the whole office) that if someone couldn't be happy in a metropolitan area with all of its offerings -- cultural opportunities like the Dallas Museum of Art, the Fort Worth Amon Carter Museum, the Dallas Symphony; recreational facilities like Six Flags and the Fort Worth Zoo; professional sports teams like the Stars and Mavs and Cowboys and Rangers -- then there probably wasn't much hope for him as a person anyway, and Texas wouldn't really miss him or his negative attitude. (In other words, "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!") I didn't, of course, but it would have been fun to see what kind of a reaction it stirred up among the highly NON-Texan population of our office!

If north Texas no longer floats your boat, there are plenty of other options... If I could relocate to El Paso or Marfa or Alpine or Amarillo and work the job and earn the same salary, I'd be gone in a SECOND. Not that those places are perfect... El Paso, with its desert climate and its proximity to the Mexican border (and one of northern Mexico's largest cities) has its own set of problems. Marfa's streets are filling up with New Yorkers, and Alpine is probably next on the list, so it's just a matter of time before those places become victims of their own desirability as well. It might be a while, though, before that happens up in Amarillo... maybe that's the place for me! Grain elevators, wheat fields, wide open spaces, and trains... I'm there, dude. And if the winters get too cold for me up there, I'd even consider going back to (gasp) San Angelo. What was that about irony?

As for bek's assertion that "the stereotypes of Texans are mostly true. They're low-class, often slow-witted, impatient, hot-tempered and mostly folks I'd rather not associate with if I didn't have to. Folks here profess to love Texas but trash the state up with bad makeup, horrible boob jobs, crappy homes, shoddy workmanship, and no regard to the environment. ", I disagree... to a point. Sure, our state is home to some folks like that -- but most of 'em probably moved here from Oklahoma and Kansas and Arkansas!
np: Tripping Daisy - "Blown Away" from the "Bill" album

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Blogger BEK said...

i love the blog, W., since I hardly get to see you outside of coming into work!

I didn't mean to slag so much on Texas. I should have restricted my gripes to the metroplex, as there IS plenty to see and love about this place. Hey, there's Palo Duro and Balmoreah springs, and Austin and music and even Amarillo.

I guess most of my complaints about Texans and Texas have to do with the "Azle Factor". . . the scary people you see at Wal-Mart? Probably from Azle. Lots of Meth labs out that way, too. Don't get me started on the OTHER side of the spectrum--the Plano side of the world.

Anyway, hey, I could live in a place like Vernon or Childress. . .hell, Cordell, Oklahoma looked pretty nice when I was up there this week.

Please, though, don't make me drive I820 between I35 and the 183/121 split!!

7:36 AM  

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