Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fort Worth Water Gardens in Autumn

From 2014 11 28 Fort Worth Water Gardens

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday for some. For us, on the spur of the moment, we decided to go to Fort Worth to see the annual Parade of Lights. To beat the last minute traffic and parking jams, we arrived in plenty of time to stroll around downtown, starting with Philip Johnson's Fort Worth Water Gardens. It's been years since we were there. It's still impressive. I still think of it as the futuristic city in the science fiction film Logan's Run, which was filmed there in 1975.

More photos after the jump.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Now is Good (2012)

Now is Good (2012): Girl with cancer and a bucket list touches lives despite her hard exterior. Formulaic. Checks every tear-jerker box. C+

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time
From The Worst Hard Time, by Adam Johnson:
Open quote 

Ike Osteen's life spans the flu epidemic of 1918, the worst depression in American history, and a world war that ripped apart the globe. Nothing compares to the black dusters of the 1930s, he says, a time when the simplest thing in life -- taking a breath -- was a threat."

After the jump, my review.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

High School Basketball Tips Off

From 2014 11 25 Coppell vs Berkner

Now that the last notes of Gridiron Echoes have faded away, it's time for basketball. The Berkner Rams boys basketball team has a growing reputation to live up to. Last season, they had an overall record of 24-8, were District 9-5A co-champions and had a deep run in the state tournament. There were about 250 Class 5A schools in Texas in 2013-2014. Berkner made it to the final sixteen. Sweet!

Now it's a new season, a new district, a new roster, and new challenges. After the jump, the Berkner Rams take on the Coppell Cowboys in a non-district game.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Burt's Buzz (2013)

Burt's Buzz (2013): Man behind the lip balm. Unambitious man lives alone in the woods. Icon not tycoon. Movie never gets below surface. C+

Monday, November 24, 2014

Eastside Gives Up on Mixed-Use

Eastside Gives Up on Mixed-Use. That's not what Steve Brown says, but it would be an accurate headline for his story in The Dallas Morning News, despite his own characterization of plans at Eastside as "mixed-use":
Developers in Richardson have disclosed details of the first phase of a prominent new mixed-use development on North Central Expressway.
The planned apartment and office project is part of the Eastside development located near the southeast corner of North Central and Campbell Road.
After the jump, why the Eastside expansion is not mixed-use.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Oregon Coast

From 2014 11 07 Oregon Coast
Last summer, we visited the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers north of St. Louis, where Lewis and Clark camped the winter before setting off with the Corps of Discovery through the American northwest. This fall, we visited Astoria, Oregon, and the Oregon coast, where Lewis and Clark reached their goal and they camped the winter before making the long journey back east. We didn't follow Lewis and Clark's route up the Missouri. We flew to Oregon, a luxury Lewis and Clark couldn't even imagine. It was affecting to stand at the beginning and end of their epic journey.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jobs (2013)

Jobs (2013): One sick asshole. To family, friends, employees. Does design genius make up for it? Movie doesn't answer. Or even try. C+

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Committees and Commissions

According to The Dallas Morning News, Richardson resident David Chenoweth "has filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General's office over the Charter Review Commission not providing time for public comment at all meetings." He is hanging his case on Section 3.10 of the Richardson City Charter.
Section 3.10. - Open meetings.
All meetings of the city council and all committees thereof shall be open to the public except as otherwise permitted by state law, and the rules of the city council shall provide that citizens of the city shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard at any such meetings, in regard to any matter there considered.

After the jump, why he is mistaken.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Missing Picture (2013)

The Missing Picture (2013): Depiction of life under Khmer Rouge using clay figurines. Jarring, haunting, but figures lessen the horror. C+

Monday, November 17, 2014

Portland's Pittock Mansion

From 2014 11 06 Pittock Mansion
Let's reach for comparisons. Scott lived in Pasadena, California. Now he lives in Portland, Oregon.

Pasadena has the Caltech Beavers. Oregon has the Portland State Beavers.

Pasadena, home of the New Year's Rose Parade, calls itself the City of Roses. Portland, which has held the Portland Rose Festival annually since 1907, also calls itself the City of Roses.

Pasadena has the Gamble House, a National Historic Landmark built in 1908 for David Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company. And Portland has the Pittock Mansion, a National Historic Landmark built in 1914 for Henry Pittock, publisher of The Oregonian. Gamble House is high in the hills above the Rose Bowl. Pittock Mansion is high in the hills overlooking downtown Portland.

Eerie parallels, right? I knooooow. It's weird.

More photos of the Pittock Mansion after the jump.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Late Autumn in the Steger Garden (2014)

From Flowers
The chrysanthemums are at their peak.

From Flowers
The freeze took the elephant ears and wandering jew. (Can I still say that?)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dallas Unveils World's Saddest Bike Sharing Program

From 2014 08 23 Chicago
"Dallas Unveils World's Saddest Bike Sharing Program." So says Eric Nicholson of the Dallas Observer. I don't have anything to add to his excellent Unfair Park blog piece on the deficiencies of Dallas's bike rental system available only in Fair Park. I just wanted to share my photo of Chicago's Divvy bikes. Ride on.

It turns out I do have something to add. After the jump.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Keep Portland Weird

From 2014 11 05 Portland
"Keep Portland Weird." Portland stole the slogan from Austin, but Portland wears it authentically, so it's all good.

There's Voodoo Doughnut in Old Town (the "crotch" of Portland), the place with the maple bacon doughnuts that keep people lining up out the door 24/7. Voodoo Doughnut's partner, Rogue Ales, once created a Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale. Weird.

There was the Guy Fawkes Day anti-corporate, anti-government, anti-whatever protest march in Chinatown. It reminded me of The Wild One: "Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?" "Whadda you got?"

There was the burrito maker at the food cart outside the Portland Building whose main interest in the November election was the Oregon referendum on legalizing marijuana. It passed.

There are the transit options -- light rail, streetcar, bike lanes, and ubiquitous Car2Go Smart cars. Oh wait, having transit options isn't weird, is it, unless you live in, say, north Texas, where TxDOT/NCTCOG/NTTA/... all conspire to build ever more freeways to cater to cars and sprawl. Whoa, keep the blood pressure under control. You're in Portland, remember. Chill. Bottom-line, Portland is very friendly to car-free tourists. Smile.

And Portland is just the right amount of weird.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Quirky. Eccentric hotelier, murder, inheritance battle, art theft, fascists. Lots of cameos. Works for me. B-

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gridiron Echoes (2014)

In celebration of another successful marching season, the Mighty Ram Band of Berkner High School put on their annual Gridiron Echoes concert in the school's newly renovated auditorium Tuesday night. And what a marching season it's been.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

OTBR: Great Australian Bight

Latitude: S 32° 27.450
Longitude: E 123° 56.328

A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tunnel of Love in All the Wrong Places

As reported by Steve Brown of The Dallas Morning News, the area around Dallas Love Field is about to boom. Reconstruction of the terminal is nearly complete. Southwest Airlines is adding non-stop flights to destinations all over the country. Developers have plans for new offices, apartments, hotels and retail. So, what is the City of Dallas considering in reaction to all the traffic that's expected? Build a tunnel. Like one in Richardson.

The details after the jump.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Repeat Tweets: Silver Screen Slayer

Repeat tweets from October, 2014:

  • Oct 1 2014: Silver Screen Slayer at PST: Silly parody of '30s private eye, Nazi spy movies. Jokes about Hollywood Jews and gays not as funny as rest. C+
  • Oct 1 2014: Wonder if any Dallasite who argued it was *insane* to allow flights from West Africa to US is now arguing to shut down DFW airport. #Ebola
  • Oct 2 2014: Headline in Sydney Morning Herald: "Caltech: the university ranked higher than Harvard, Oxford and Standford." Double ouch for Stanford.
  • Oct 2 2014: J. Fred Bucy, Jr. resigned from Intrusion's Board of Directors. A name from the past -- forced out of TI in 1985.
  • Oct 3 2014: The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, by Bob Shacochis: Murder mystery, war novel, mostly a psychological study. Long, complicated, messy. B-
  • Oct 3 2014: Jacquielynn Floyd: "In Liberia mistrust of authority and misinformation allowed Ebola to rage out of control." Glad we don't have that here.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Stefani Carter

Tuesday, Linda Koop won election to the Texas House District 102 seat currently held by Stefani Carter. Koop defeated Carter in the GOP primary. Before the vote Tuesday, Carter made one last pitch to the voters -- not for Koop but for Greg Abbott, GOP candidate for governor. Carter wrote an opinion piece for the Texas Tribune making a case why minorities should support Abbott. Mostly it was standard GOP boilerplate (e.g., twisting opposition to public education into support: "providing quality public education"). Nothing about Carter in that part of the opinion piece. It was the rest that reminds voters what they don't like about Stefani Carter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

  • Young Women's Christian Association: For years, the YWCA operated a recreation center at Collins Blvd and Plano Rd in Richardson. I don't remember the neighborhood having any beef with that. The YWCA shut down and sold the property a number of years ago.
  • Town North Presbyterian Church: For years, TNPC has operated a church on Plano Rd north of Collins Blvd. This August, a zoning change was requested and granted to allow TNPC to sell part of their church property to someone who plans to construct an assisted living center on it. Again, no beef from the neighborhood. No one spoke against allowing this residential addition to the neighborhood.

After the jump, the third thing.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Highland Park 55, Berkner 10

From 2014 10 31 Highland Park vs Berkner

Berkner's season continued its nightmarish ways on Halloween night, as the Rams lost to Highland Park 55-10. Berkner had a strong start and led 10-6 after one quarter, but it was all Highland Park from then on.

Fans who attended the game were rewarded with seeing one of the top bands in the state perform their last halftime show before their big events in San Antonio. The second half was eerily quiet as Berkner's Mighty Ram band left the stadium to drive overnight to San Antonio, where they compete in a Bands of America Super-Regional on Saturday and in the State marching band competition on Tuesday.

More photos after the jump.