Foreign Language Update

Despite my depression, I’ve still kept up with my foreign language studies. After all, they’re my retirement plan. As I get better at my foreign languages, I hope to gradually transition to a work-from-home business as a translator.

Well, once I pick a language, that is. Right now, I have three tiers of languages, with two languages in each tier. The first tier is Spanish and Mandarin, the second tier is German and Italian, and the third is Czech and Vietnamese. I’m most likely to pick one of the first tier, but the ones in the second aren’t out of the running yet. It’s doubtful that I’ll ever be good enough at the languages in the third tier for them to ever be possibilities, but who know what will happen in the future.

I also still intend to add more languages as time goes by. Next up, I think, may be Arabic, since it’s spoken in so many countries, which makes it pretty useful, and right now I have a coworker who speaks it and could help me. Well, he speaks Egyptian Arabic, but it’d give me something to work with.

I’d like to learn Hawaiian, since I’ve offered to take Alex on a trip to celebrate his college graduation in a couple of years and he wants to go back to Hawaii. Even if I take to Hawaiian like the proverbial duck to water, it’s likely that anyone who speaks Hawaiian would be able to do their own translations into English, so that’s not likely to be my choice.

Whenever I try to learn French, I end up having some kind of traumatic experience that leads to an awakening to something broken in my life (I found the lump that was my cancer the first time and I got a divorce the second). I already know that a bunch of things in my life are broken — that’s why I’m seeing a mental health professional and also trying to start a business that will give me the money I need to make those changes. I don’t want to have an awakening to other things that are broken just now. Maybe later.

There are other languages that are appealing as well (too many to go into at 5:00 am). So, in short, Spanish or Mandarin is likely to be my choice, German and Italian aren’t out of the running yet, and any other language will be fun to learn, but probably will not be anything I can base a business on.

It may boil down to what schools I can get a master’s degree in modern languages at. Wow, that sentence sucks, but I’m going to leave it there and then explain. Not all schools teach all languages. I mean, that’d be impossible. To cover all of them, your modern languages faculty would probably have to be hundreds, if not thousands, of people. I figured that hundreds might be a possibility because some could double- triple- or more up. Each professor from Papua New Guinea might be able to knock out quite a few of their 851 languages all by themselves.

And since my plan is to have public university money and not private university money, that limits the number of schools I can go to. Like most universities have the languages that are popular in high school — Spanish, German, French, etc. Once you leave those languages, the number of public schools that have graduate degree programs drops by quite a bit.

Right now, the best school I’ve been able to find for Mandarin is Berkeley. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to go to Berkeley. But would I ever have the money to live in Northern California? Not unless I win the lottery, I won’t. And in that case, I’d have private university money.

Another limiting factor is that I want to travel for foreign study as well. I won’t have the money to pay for my foreign language degree for a long time (if ever) but when I do it, I want to do it right and spend a semester abroad. Medellin looks like it’d be fun, but the rural areas of Colombia are pretty dicey right now (who knows what the status will be in 12-ish years, though). I’ve never been to Spain, but that’s not the dialect I’ve learned. Maybe it’d be helpful to get out of my comfort zone and go to Spain.

I’d love to go to China, but with the way our relationship is right now, maybe I’d be better off not planning on that. Also, with my asthma, I should probably not plan to study in Beijing if I do go. I’d love to spend time in Liaoning, though, since that’s where they’re finding all of the dinosaurs.

I loved Italy and would love to go back. Doing foreign study in, like, Naples or Rome? That’d be wonderful. Maybe doing my study in Florence, since everyone I know who’s been to Italy raves about Florence. I’ve never been to Germany (or Austria, or Switzerland), so traveling there to study would really stretch my wings.

Well, I don’t have to decide anything regarding school, at least, for more than 12 years. I already have a bachelor’s degree, so I’m hoping to go to grad school for my modern languages degree. Unfortunately, already speaking the language isn’t good enough, you need actual undergrad class credits. So, since adults over 65 who aren’t pursuing a degree get free undergraduate tuition in most states, and since I don’t *want* to pursue an undergraduate degree, I figure I have until I’m 65 to start taking classes. I’ll use that program (in whichever state I end up in) to get the undergraduate hours and then get a master’s degree.

Unless, of course, I can start making enough money actually using my target language before then to defray the cost of both the undergraduate classes and the master’s degree. In that case, I’ll start taking classes as soon as I have the money. I have a spreadsheet that I need to transition to a database someday. I have three shares of stock, ten CDs, and the savings account that I’m keeping the money in until I have the money to buy the next share of stock or CD as appropriate and it’s getting cumbersome to keep track of it all. I’ve also just added a column that will either count up to or down to the amount of money I need. I tried counting up for a while and kept thinking it was supposed to be going down, so I’m going to try counting down for a while and see how that works out.

I actually had something to say about my blog tonight, but I have to be up in two and a half hours, so that’ll have to wait until tomorrow night’s 5 am writing spree. Good night.

A Possible Solution to My Doubts About My Writing

Apparently I’ve been depressed. The problem about being depressed is that when you’re depressed you don’t necessarily realize it at first. At least I don’t. But eventually I do, and then I generally do something about it.

I think I’m coming out of it, with the help of some friends and a competent mental health professional. My executive functioning is getting better and I’m able to write again. I’ve gotten up and written at 4 or 5 in the morning every day this week. Will I ever be able to write again at a humane hour of the day? Well, that remains to be seen. But progress is progress.

Once I’m pretty confident that this depression is behind me, I’m thinking about taking an online creative writing course. I’m looking at my options right now, but I’m not ready to actually commit to spending money on this. Yet.

Well, that’s pretty much it, I guess. Hopefully I’ll have more news over the coming weeks and, since I need content, I’ll probably share that progress here. Now I need to get back to sleep.

The Try Guys Show, Austin, Texas, July 20, 2019

Comic Sans project, post 3

Frank and I went to the Try Guys show in July. I’m not real sure where this started, actually. I think it was when one of my friends posted some “study” showing that people who go to live concerts live longer*. So since I’m in a concert-going phase right now, I figured “let’s see who’s coming to town.” And I saw that the Try Guys were touring. Something else was happening that kept me from going to the San Antonio show, but they were doing a show in Austin the next night. And I was free that night.

I’m not really ashamed, as such, that I’m not a longstanding Try Guys fan. When I saw that they were touring, I was, like, “Those are those guys who did the drunk driving thing, aren’t they? They’re pretty funny.” And then I binge-watched their entire oeuvre (well, all of the videos since they left Buzzfeed. I think I did a bunch of the ones from their Buzzfeed era, as well). And, yeah. I loved them.

So I asked Frank if he liked them, because I’d get another ticket for him if he wanted me to. He did. So, since his house is on my way from my house to Austin, I drove and picked him up on the way.

I was kind of stressed out, since there are basically two drives between San Antonio and Austin – relaxing and time-consuming or fast and congested. And since the fast and congested route is congested, if there’s a wreck on the way, the choice can end up being relaxing and time-consuming or congested and time-consuming.

As an aside, a friend in Austin and I are expecting a visit from one of our friends from Maryland this coming summer and I suggested the relaxing and time-consuming route – US 290 West to US 281 South – when she drives from visiting our friend in Austin to San Antonio. Right now, that route takes 40 more minutes than going straight down I-35, but it takes you through Dripping Springs and Blanco. It does get congested as you get into San Antonio, but once you’re in the city proper, it speeds up a bit. Plus, if she’ll be staying downtown, US 281 goes just past the eastern edge of downtown San Antonio. I-35 goes past the western edge of downtown, but there’s all these interchanges and stuff and it’s kind of a mess. But I digress. Back to the Try Guys.

Frank and my first experience with the show kind of throws the difference in our attitudes into sharper relief. I bought tickets for the balcony, because neither one of us is made of money. We went up to the balcony and it was empty except for the guy running the sound board. While we stumbled around in the dark, the sound board guy must have called for an usher to come get us. Turns out that everyone who was in the balcony had been moved down to the back of the main floor at the concert hall and no one had told us.

I was horribly embarrassed. Frank was more than a little put out. We got our new tickets, though, and got our seats. We got there quite a bit ahead of time so I had lots of time to look around and notice that Eugene’s dad, Jae, was at the show. Frank wasn’t as big a fan as I am, so he didn’t recognize Jae at first. I had to dig up a picture of him on my phone and we had to wait for him to stand up again before he could see what I meant. We will be seeing Jae again later in the show.

While I think that Zach may be my favorite (though it’s a close contest) , I liked the Tryceratops in Ned’s pink color best.

I purposefully stayed unspoiled about the show, which caused a bit of anxiety on my part. The name of the show was “Legends of the Internet” and the guys came out and started singing about memes and things and I was kind of tense, wondering if that’s all it was going to be. Fortunately, it wasn’t.

Each of the guys were legends of a particular Internet-related topic. Keith was the Legend of Food, Ned was the Legend of Love, Zach was the Legend of Fun, and Eugene was the Legend of Gay (the show in Austin was less than a month after Eugene’s coming out video).

The whole thing started out with a Try Guys Game Time where a young woman from the audience came up on stage for a game of Fuck Marry Kill. Since their voices are distinctive, the sound board guy disguised their voices.

As the Legend of Food, Keith threw pieces of chicken into the audience for us to share. I say “us,” although not everyone got any chicken. The idea was for the chicken to be broken into small enough pieces that everyone would get some, but a few people declined to share (or so Keith said). Frank and I were some of the ones who didn’t get chicken. Oh, and in Boston, one of the pieces of chicken hit a chandelier and damaged it.

As the Legend of Love, Ned had a dance contest for dads. This is where Jae comes in. Since Eugene’s dad was there, they had the usual number of dads from the audience and they added Jae in to make it, if I recall correctly, five dads. Jae did not win the dance contest.

As the Legend of Fun, Zach did a Try Guys slash fiction story where the sexy bits were replaced by references to cars. So there were stick shifts instead of penises and things like that. He also showed us the tattoo of a smiley face he has on his buttock.

And as the Legend of Gay, Eugene did a dance and lipsync number in an outfit that kind of defies description. As he went through the history of homosexuality in the media (both through gay icons and through non-gay personalities that are associated with the gay community, like Judy Garland), his outfit changed, like a Transformer you can wear. It was fascinating.

The show was amazing and I had a wonderful time. I’m also procrastinating over a cover letter for them. They said in one of their videos that they don’t have a research department. Well, I’m a librarian, so I’d make a great research department. Will I ever actually send them my resume? Tune in, possibly never, and we’ll find out.

This Gratuitous Amazon Link is actually less gratuitous than usual. It is, in fact, the Try Guys’s book, The Hidden Power of F*cking Up. I bought my copy almost as soon as I knew it existed and didn’t realize until I got to the show that they were selling autographed copies. I didn’t have that much money to spare (see why we almost ended up in the balcony), so I’ll just have the one, unautographed, copy.

It’s 1:30 in the morning as I write this, so I’m going to be heading off to bed now. I’m off tomorrow and I think I might go downtown. Maybe I can check out the archaeological dig at the Alamo. I also need to see if I can find a good picture from the Try Guys show to post here.

And Alex and I went to the LBJ National Monument a couple of weeks ago. I still have the Maluma concert and a B-52s concert to write up. And Facebook keeps offering me an opportunity to promote one post for free. I have to come up with something amazing for that. God only knows what, though.

So, if I can come up with something good on the archaeological dig, that’s four or five more blog posts. I think I still have an hour or two of 24 Hours of Happy to post.

Wow, maybe the Comic Sans thing is working.

*The “study” was done by a company that owns venues where they have concerts. No ulterior motive there.

Thinking About Not Giving Up

I was going to write about the Try Guys concert that Frank and I went to, but now I’m thinking about writing about writing.

While trying to figure out if I should give up, I was reading an article about writing and it said that a “good writer” is distinguished by their ability to edit and re-edit their work. And I don’t really do multiple drafts of things, so maybe I’m not a good writer by that standard.

I do edit as I write, though (n.b. — I moved that sentence from the end of the previous paragraph to the beginning of this one as I was posting this into the WordPress interface, so I guess I do do some editing). I wonder if there is a freeware dictation app that’s any good. Because I would certainly be interested in my thought process as I write. I don’t generally sit down and make it up as I sit there (wow, that was a bad sentence, but I’m going to leave it just so you can see what I mean). I tend to write as I do other things and by the time I sit down, I’ve mostly decided on what I think is the best way to phrase what I want to say. This is the tactic I used on all of my papers in grad school, btw, and I graduated with a 3.16 or so GPA, so I guess it works.

If I had a decent dictation app, I could do this process out loud and have the app translate it for me on the fly and then I could publish exactly what my thought process is and how many different versions of a particular sentence I go through before I “(fix it) in a tangible form.”

I’m not sure where all I was going with this, but I’ve started looking at speech to text apps to see if I can actually do what I’m contemplating. We’ll see how that works out.

And I forgot my Gratuitous Amazon Link last time. Wasn’t I just going through the works of Rick Riordan? I think I’d only done The Lightning Thief, so here’s the second in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Sea of Monsters. This is one of my favorite books in the whole series (though that’s a hard decision to make, since I love all of the books that Riordan has written). I haven’t reread this series in a long time. Maybe I’ll make time for it again soon.

Thinking about Giving Up

This is probably going to be a huge mistake but what the hell. I’ve actually had friends tell me that writing in Comic Sans helped them overcome their writer’s block so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I’ve had a lot of doubts about this blog lately. I sent the link to it to one of my best friends and he never mentioned it again. Every time I think about it, I think that I must really suck if it’s so bad that he didn’t even say, “Don’t give up your day job.” And I’m really scared to ask him what he thought about it. I mean, maybe he forgot. And that would be okay, because you know, he has a life. But if he forgot, then he’d be embarrassed and I’m the type who feels it really strongly when someone I care about is hurt or embarrassed. It might even be more painful for me than it would be for him.

And what if he didn’t forget? What if he read it and it really is horrible? I mean, I love my blog and I love writing and I had a bunch of friends from my fanfic writing days who liked my writing. One of my friends had an occasional writing contest (voted on by the readers) and I never got the top prize, but I usually got *a* prize. So I can craft a sentence that makes sense. I think.

I have to admit that I’m crying a little right now. I’m so scared that I’m wasting my time and that I should just pack it in.

I’m going to give it one more try. Really try to stick with it through 2020 and see where it gets me. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll make a success out of this.

Oh, and the Comic Sans thing? Seems to be working so far. For whatever that’s worth.

What Next? Weird Al?

Yeah. that sounds good. Particularly since I think it’s his birthday? Or was that yesterday?

Yes. It’s today. Happy Birthday, Weird Al! :throws confetti:

This concert was the third time I’ve seen Al in concert. The first was when he opened for The Monkees in 1987 (or, as my friend Ray used to say, when The Monkees closed for Weird Al). Then there was last year’s “unplugged” tour. Then there was this year’s Strings Attached tour in which Weird Al (and his bandmates) played with a symphony orchestra.

I was trying to imagine Al on a bus with timpani and string basses and such, only it turns out that isn’t how it worked at all. The conductor traveled with him. The performers were from local orchestras.

Weird Al Yankovic, Strings Attached Tour, June 16, 2019.
Boy, I wish I could remember which song this was. At any rate, this is the only picture I got where Al wasn’t overexposed. If I can remember which song this was, I’ll update the post. Probably.

There was a little interpersonal drama surrounding the concert. I didn’t realize when I bought the tickets (in February) that the day of the concert, June 16, was Father’s Day. In fact, I didn’t realize it until about a week before the concert. Thomas was understandably upset about this, and I offered to let Thomas have Alex for the night because it was my error. I also offered to let Thomas and Alex have my tickets for the show and to buy my own ticket and sit elsewhere. In the end, though, Thomas allowed Alex and me to go to the concert together and they’d plan for a “designated” Father’s Day at some other time.

The show was held at the Majestic Theatre in downtown San Antonio, an old movie palace. I’ve never failed to be impressed by the work that went into putting the building together (and the work it must take to keep all of that ornamentation dusted!). The Majestic was the first fully air-conditioned theater in Texas and, near as I can tell, the first theater in San Antonio to be integrated. This is the South and so, of course, the theater was initially segregated. African-American patrons had a separate entrance that led to a separate balcony (from what I can tell, that balcony is used to store lighting and other equipment now and is not open to the public). They tried a test integration in 1961 and when doom didn’t follow the test, they formally integrated. The other theaters in the city followed suit soon afterwards. I have a pretty good picture of the inside of the Majestic from the B-52s concert. I’ll try to remember to post it then.

The concert was, as always, awesome. Apparently the 9-minute “Jackson Park Express” went over well enough on 2018’s tour that he performed it again on this tour. He did most of his greatest hits. He skipped the Michael Jackson songs given that some of the (now adult) kids that Jackson had at his home are now saying that he did abuse them. Al has said that maybe someday he’d perform them again, but that wasn’t going to happen on this tour.

There were costume changes and a big screen and a surprise performance of a song that couldn’t be done justice without a symphony orchestra. I seem to recall that Lisa Popeil got a bit louder applause than the other singers (though maybe that was just me).

The only problem is that occasionally the orchestra was drowned out by Al’s band, at least I couldn’t hear the orchestra from my seat on those songs.

I know I need a concluding paragraph and maybe someday I’ll write one. But it’s 11:00 pm right now and only going to be Al’s birthday for another one or three hours (depending on if you’re talking about me here in Texas or Al in California (unless Al’s at his home on Maui right now, which will give us a few more hours). So I’m going to post this and maybe start working on another post.

October Has Been a Rough Month

I did end up going to the Maluma concert and I visited an average of 1.5 state parks per day this weekend (unless you’re counting unique state parks, in which case it’s an average of 1 per day) and I intend to write about both. Also about the Weird Al Yankovic concert, the B-52s concert, and the Try Guys show. But first, there’s Kiliamo.

Or, was Kiliamo. And there’s the problem.

When Alex was about 2 years old, he let us know that he wanted a cat of his very own. So we took him to the shelter and introduced him to a bunch of little kittens and he wasn’t interested in any of them. As we were about to give up, I saw a black medium haired kitten in one of the cages. The kitten was about six months old, so not a tiny kitten, but still not yet an adult.

It was love at first sight.

We named him Cosmo, after the husband fairy from the Fairly Oddparents cartoon but Alex soon renamed him Kiliamo, which was baby-Alex for Kitty Cosmo. And everything went smoothly until Kiliamo was about 12.

Kiliamo just outside Alex's blanket fort in 2003
One of the earliest pictures I have of Kiliamo, from 2003. Alex was asleep when I was writing this, so I couldn’t ask for his permission to post any pictures with him in it (though technically he is in the picture — those are the fingers of his left hand just under the blanket).

Around then, he started pooping outside the box and it was mushy and discolored. The folks at the vet’s office did a fecal exam and nothing untoward turned up so we did a course of metronidazole just in case, because occasionally there’d be something in stool that doesn’t show up on fecal examination. And it didn’t help.

My vet gave us a diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and we played around with this food for a couple of years and things would improve for a year or two and then go downhill again. We put him on prednisone for about a year which worked great until he developed diabetes from the prednisone.

So we put him on insulin and cyclosporine and three months after the diabetes set in, the diabetes was over.

All this time, my dad and I were fighting about him and whether I should put him down. Eventually, I put him on house arrest and kept him in my bedroom all of the time. His digestion finally settled down and I was able to take him off of the cyclosporine when I put him on Fancy Feast and things were pretty smooth for about a year.

Then he started to lose weight. We tested his thyroid, which turned out to be high, and put him on methimazole. He was still losing weight, so we tested his T4 which was also high, and upped his dose.

Then he began having seizures. My vet said that it was likely a one-time thing and that if it happened again, we could try anti-seizure medicine, but that wouldn’t fix the underlying problem, which she thought might be a brain tumor. We decided to try the anti-seizure medicine, which did stop his seizures.

About that time, he started to lose weight again. We tested his T4 again, which was high again, and bumped up his dose. And everything was smooth for another couple of months. Until he started losing weight again, his T4 was high again, and we bumped up his dose again (at this point, he was taking 10 mg per day, which is a pretty high dose for a human).

A month later, he had all but stopped eating and had lost a lot of weight. At this point, which was the day of the Maluma concert, my vet said that it was time. I asked for a few days so that Alex and a couple of my friends could say goodbye and we set the date for that Wednesday. My boss rearranged my schedule so that I could spend that last day with him and so, on October 2, 2019, we said our final goodbyes to Kiliamo.

I’m actually getting choked up just writing about it. Anyway, I’m writing all this because (a) I need to make a blog post anyhow and (b) I don’t want to have to go through all this when I do write about the Maluma concert.

Crap. I need a Gratuitous Amazon Link, don’t I? I should keep it on-topic somehow. Do they sell Fancy Feast on Amazon? Yes, they do. So here’s a link to the Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection. Kiliamo would have no part of the grilled or flaked varieties. He was a paté man. So if anyone out there sees this link and decides to buy this pack, crack open a Turkey and Giblets Feast (which was his favorite) and remember our beloved Kiliamo.

Search for the Southern End of the North Salado Creek Greenway, Part 2

I feel like I should give this a subtitle like “the searchening” or something.

Anyway, when last I attempted to find where the North Salado Creek Greenway ends, I started out at the southern end, in John James Park, and couldn’t see where the greenway was from there. So then I attempted to go to each trailhead going north from there and was stymied by plumbing every time. Finally I ended up at Lady Bird Johnson Park and trying to walk south. I still hit the sewer work that stopped me from being able to park at either the Robert LB Tobin or Oakwell trailheads and had to give up and go home.

My second attempt began two weeks later. I looked at the city’s website to see if there were any closures on the greenway and was assured that there weren’t. “The main Salado trail will continue to remain open,” the website assured me.

So I took my bottle of ice and put my walking shoes on and headed out.

First I stopped at the Tobin trailhead. I flipped the Pokemon Go gym there and then did the math and realized that if I were able to go all the way through, I’d have to leave my car there on the access road to Loop 410 for two hours. Not that I think I’m terribly likely to have my car stolen. It’s not a very in-demand model, it’s going to be 13 next month, *and* it was damaged by the hailstorm that hit our area in April 2016. But that’s no reason to take chances, either.

So I headed for the Oakwell trailhead, figuring that it’s more out of the way, and since it’s closer to the middle of my planned route, my car wouldn’t be unsupervised for more than an hour.

So since I the whole purpose of this is to reach the southern end, I headed south. It was a nice walk, and I made good time. One of the paths that was closed, according to the city’s website, was the connecting trail to the intersection of Holbook and Eisenhauer and I noted that as I passed it. And then, a little less than half a kilometer later, there was a roadblock that said, “BIKE TRAIL CLOSED.” It certainly didn’t specify, “FINE FOR HIKING, THOUGH” and there was an awful lot of heavy machinery on the other side of the sign, so I turned around. By my calculation I had about half a kilometer to go to get to my goal, Rittiman Road across the street from John James Park. So close and yet so far.

So whenever I can finally get through, I’m going to have to walk an extra 1.5 kilometers to get back to where I left off. Then walk that half a kilometer and then do the whole thing back again.

I’ve been thinking in kilometers lately when it comes to walking distance because each step is about half a meter for me. It’s easy to think “I walked 3,000 steps to get to where I left off and then I have another 1,000 to go.” I have no idea what my steps-to-miles ratio is.

After I returned to the parking lot, I began my walk back north to the Robert LB Tobin trailhead. This was a nice walk with no plumbing interruptions. I played some Pokemon Go on the way up and some Wizards Unite on the way down and still had plenty of time to enjoy some nature. I checked on my gym once I got back up to the trailhead and then returned to my car and went, well, not home. I stopped at Hardberger Park East and left a Pokemon there, then swung by the Walmart on the other side of Wurzbach Parkway and then, I think, I went home.

right triangle on the Salado Creek Greenway, Robert LB Tobin Park
Look at that hypotenuse. Pythagoras would be proud. Or horrified. One of those.

Alex and I went to the Oakwell Trailhead at some point in the past and I couldn’t for the life of me remember which direction we went. I couldn’t remember, that is, until I came to one spot where the path makes a left turn that’s almost a perfect right angle. And humans being humans, there was a path cut through the grass forming the hypotenuse of a right triangle. I had a flashback to Alex and me arguing (in a friendly way, I think) about whether it was acceptable to take the hypotenuse. Alex argued in favor of it and I argued against it.

Stay tuned for The Search for the Southern End of the North Salado Creek Greenway, Part 3. Coming soonish* to a browser near you.

*Probably more than two weeks from now. Maybe.

Time for a Gratuitous Amazon Link. I forgot the GAL last time. Since I’m reading Rick Riordan’s, I don’t even know, 19th (?) book* in the Percy Jackson universe, maybe I should start plugging them on my blog. So here’s where it all started: The Lightning Thief. Adventure, humor, travel. Why would I not love this series? (These series? The Jackson-verse has, after all, been five different series.).

*I just went back and count again and I’m pretty sure we’re on 19.

I Went Looking for the Southern End of the North Salado Creek Greenway Today

I hadn’t touched my Howard W. Peak Greenway System project in ages. In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure where I’d left off. I remembered starting out at Lady Bird Johnson Park and going north toward McAllister Park (and I think I made it all that way). I also started from the Oakwell Farms Trailhead and went some direction (probably north towards Lady Bird Johnson Park) but didn’t get very far. And that was it.

So since I wasn’t sure how much of the area I’d actually covered, I figured that my best bet was to start at the far end (since that would be a new-to-me park) and go north, seeing if I could make it all the way to Lady Bird Johnson Park.

So I drove to John James Park (named for a surveyor who helped set up a bunch of local towns including Castroville) and didn’t see a sign like this:

The Greenway sign outside of Walker Ranch Historic Landmark Park. The coloration is imperfect because I took this picture at 10:00 at night.

Or like this:

The park rules for the Greenway system. Since there wasn’t one at John James, this is from Lady Bird Johnson. As I say below, it was hot today (and I had done a lot of walking), so I wasn’t about to drag myself down Nacogdoches Road looking for the above Greenway sign during the daytime.

So I walked around the park and also down the street until I crossed the creek (which looked like this):

Do you see a sidewalk in this picture? I don’t see a sidewalk in this picture.

Finally I decided that maybe the greenway ended on the other side of the bridge that carries Rittiman Road over the creek (and also over Holbrook Road)*, but there was no crosswalk in sight and it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) so I wasn’t going to go wandering around out there in the sun any longer than I had to. I also had a very strange conversation with the lady at Via Metropolitan Transit where I explained that I wanted to know how to get to the downtown lineup from the AT&T Center (I’m going to the Maluma concert on Saturday) and after leaving me on hold for nearly nine minutes she came back and told me where the downtown lineup is. Crap. I should probably do a post on taking the downtown Via lineup, shouldn’t I? Well, it’s 11:30 and I have to be up in 9 hours so I’m not going to write it tonight.

After exploring the park a bit more, I decided to drive along Grantham Road looking for greenway signs or, more importantly, parking lots. When I didn’t find anywhere to park, I decided to head up to the Oakwell Farms trailhead and walk down to John James and hopefully find the trailhead from that direction. I got there and found that they were doing sewer work and the parking lot was closed.

So I went back all the way to Lady Bird Johnson Park and decided to head all the way down to John James. When I got to Robert L.B. Tobin Park, just past 410, though, I found that not only was the parking lot closed, but the greenway itself was closed, too.

So after briefly flirting with the idea of seeing if I could get close enough to the Pokemon Go gym to take it over (the Pokemon in there had been there for over three days and I’m sure their trainers would have liked them back), I turned around and headed back to my car. I stopped off at both Hardbergers and did some shopping at the Walmart on Blanco and when all the dust settled, I had visited five parks (I count both ends of the blocked-off part of the greenway as half a park each) and done more than seven miles of walking today.

*The satellite photos on Google Maps seem to show just that happening. I still don’t know how to get *down* there, though.