Saturday, August 29, 2015

North Texas State Fair

Tonight was the last night of the North Texas State Fair, whose home is in Denton. I didn't want to miss out on fair food, since it comes around so infrequently. So I hopped on my bike and rode on out.

The fair was packed. People everywhere. It's the last night, but also The Charlie Daniels Band is playing.

I was not all that impressed with this fair. I really just went for the food, but there were no Tiger Ear Scones!!! No scones whatsoever! Funnel cake is not a scone. I ended up getting a jumbo corndog, cheese fries, and a deep fried Snickers. Definitely not as good as the Utah State Fair. And not as good as my teenage memories of the Southeastern Idaho (Blackfoot) Fair.

So then I just took photos of all the cool lights.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Another Week in PDX

Last Sunday I boarded a very early flight at Love Field headed to PDX. Once again I was heading to Portland for a Bikeways Design Course put on by Portland State University and their Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI). It was essentially a week of talking about bikes, riding bikes, and then having fun at night. Pretty much awesome.

We rode around with the Bike Coordinator and the Traffic Engineer for the City of Portland. We rode over 50 miles over four days. 

When it was all over, I went to a Portland Timbers game with a friend from the class. Do you know that soccer fans are cuh-razy?! In a good way (mostly). We were in the "army" section, which not only is full of fans who stand the entire time, but has "capos" that lead the fans in cheers throughout the game. The game got exiting at the end and ended up ending in a tie (I just used "end" three times in that four).

And then it was time to go, but not before hitting up Blue Star Donuts

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Talking To Strangers

Tonight I needed to follow up on some things for work. Those things involved checking on some sidewalk issues downtown. I live downtown, so it's rather convenient for me to check stuff out. And since the last time I went out it was 3pm and I nearly melted, I welcomed the opportunity to wait until the sun was going down to walk around downtown.

So there I was, walking around downtown with my clipboard, stopping at intersections and the middle of the sidewalk to make a note. I'm sure people thought I was a weirdo (or maybe not; who knows what strangers think).

I also take random photos of things that I think would be useful to have. Like when bike racks are being used. Tonight I was doing that when the owners of the bikes I was taking a photo of appeared. It was a bit awkward. I explained that I work for the City and like to have photos of the bike racks being used, since I am working on installing more bike racks. They looked a little dubious, so I had to assure them that there was nothing wrong with their bikes being parked there. We then talked for a bit about their routes to the Square and such.

I was finishing up my tour when I stopped to make a note on my clipboard. A gentleman passing by stopped to ask if I needed help. I assured him I was fine. Then he started asking me all these questions: What are you doing, where's your id, stuff like that? I tried to stay calm - I really do work for the City! He then laughed, saying he was just teasing me because I looked like a nice person. Then I actually said, "I am a nice person." He offered to buy me a drink and sit with him and his daughter. I declined because, even though it's been less hot than last week, I was still fairly sweaty from my walking.

Denton is just full of such nice people. I love that my job allows me to interact with them. Most of the time... :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

It's HOT in Texas

I thought it was hot a month ago, but that was just a warm up.

The past week the temperature has been in the triple digits. So it's been legitimately HOT. So hot that going outside feels like the worst choice you could make all day. Like it would be preferable to sit in my office all day starving. Sidenote here: I live a block away from where I work, so I have no need to take a lunch with me because I just walk across the street and go home for lunch; so staying in my office would be starving.

We get emails at work regarding weather issues - tornadoes, ice storms, rain, and heat advisories. My boss loves to comment on these, something about "You're not in Kansas anymore!" or "Crazy what these Yanks can't handle" (regarding the metroplex shutting down when we get a bit of snow and/or ice). I actually appreciate the emails because then I know what's going on.

According to everyone, this is Texas is the summer. And it will be this way until at least September. As long as it doesn't get too humid too many days, I think I can handle it. I love that when people hear I'm not from Texas they want to tell me what to expect. I try to explain that I lived through two summers in Kansas, which are pretty comparable to Texas (at least northern Texas). I also explain that it gets hot in Utah, too. But apparently it's not the same.

And it's not. We have no humidity in the intermountain west and I love it. I think I'll have to live in Texas a lot more years before I can be okay with the humidity.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Trainwreck

A couple nights ago I went to the movie theater. I may have went just because I wanted some popcorn. And I was bored. I settled on seeing "Trainwreck" even though my desire to see it had dropped considerably.

My initial excitement for the movie was based off thinking it was going to be different, not just "business as usual" for a rom-com. I thought Amy Schumer, whose comedy clips from her show i have really liked, would reinvent the genre - tell a new story from a new point of view.

She didn't.  Amy and Aaron like each other, and they decide to start dating even though Amy believes monogamy is crazy. We know this because there is a scene of her dad telling her this at a young age, followed by a montage of her having one-night stands. That doesn't really bother me - if she wants to have sex "like a man" go for it.

What I didn't like was that it took that premise and character set-up and didn't do anything with it. The film was the same-old same-old story and implausible plot lines. Amy just happens to get a phone call from her boss, threatening to be fired if she doesn't respond, right in the middle of Aaron giving a speech for an award he's been given. The two have a fight that keeps them up all night the exact night before he has to do intense, radical surgery on Amare Stoudemire. 

I can handle the normal rom-com tropes if they are done well. Or if it's enjoyable (and that's pretty subjective). This was not. It was a trainwreck.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Best Rom-Com

Last night my friend Rachel and I bonded over our love of the greatest rom-com of all time, "While You Were Sleeping." We literally made a date to eat calzones and watch the movie.

And it was fantastic. We quoted. We laughed. We pondered. 

Then I decided to explain why I love this movie. Why I claim it is the best rom-com of all time. First, it is funny. I laugh every single time that kid on his bike falls down while throwing a newspaper. I love the dinner scene with the family, because it is so real. I love Joe, Jr. I love the falling-on-the-ice scene.

I love that Jack and Lucy have fun together, that they make each other laugh. I love that they are both "normal" people, meaning they aren't all snazzy and "Hollywood." Lucy wears huge sweaters and unfitting jeans; Jack wears a jean jacket that is reversible. And I love it! Lucy isn't the cliche of "hard, brittle woman who just needs the love of a good man to make her soft." Jack isn't a man-child who can't grow up. They are adults with lives and dreams and work.

For a little while I had a problem that Jack and Lucy fell in love in a week. Then I decided "Who cares!" When you know, you know. Right? They support each other in their dreams and that's awesome.

As I get older, with a life similar to Lucy's (single, cat-owner, transit-lover [that might be a stretch; she works for transit]) I see just how awesome she is.

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