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Everything posted by editor

  1. A couple of interesting vending machines have popped up outside of the Underground food court. You can use your credit card to purchase different items for charity, like food for a family for a week, or a desk for a needy student, or a bale of diapers. Tangible things like that. It appears that the Mormons are running the operation and eating the cost of the machines and staff. The items on offer inside are all for local charities like the Houston Food Bank, and Catholic Charities, and Interfaith Ministries and the like. Both times I went by, there were tourist families gawking at it, and both made purchases. I bought a couple of things on behalf of a generous HAIFer who asked me to dispose of a bit of money for him. I'm sure this is a Christmas-season thing, but I hope that some day it becomes more common and widespread. If there was a machine permanently outside of Starbucks, I might be more likely to occasionally purchase a night of Catholic Charities emergency housing for a family for $17, after I've just spent $14 on a coffee and sandwich.
  2. Because full store fronts bring in more store fronts, and more full offices for which they can charge higher rents. It's why large, professional real estate developers often subsidize rents for certain types of retail and restaurant amenities in their buildings. Think of all the times you've seen a building brochure touting "white tablecloth restaurant" as an amenity, even before the building is built. Good retail = higher rents. That's basic.
  3. Yep. Packed again last night. On a Monday. meanwhile, the underground food court across the street was a ghost town.
  4. In Chicago there used to be a Subway and a coffee shop that were on two levels: street, plus tunnel. Perhaps the city could find some way to convince landlords to cut a deal on rent if a store took both levels.
  5. @ehbowen— Since you seem to know a lot about this sort of thing, can you explain this for me: On a Sunset Limited trip to New Orleans recently, the train picked us up at the downtown Houston station, but instead of leaving by going through downtown past Dakota Lofts, it backed up for what felt like several miles into the Heights area, and went north, then east. Is this usual?
  6. I've never seen it. I don't watch much television these days. Which channel is it on?
  7. The advertisements seem to be getting better, too. They've gone from obscure dot-com startup lifestyle brands to the Houston Chronicle and Coca-Cola. I guess it makes sense — the more locations you have, the more people see them, the more ad buyers become interested.
  8. The Chronicle went back to the regular Dilbert strips for a while, but once again the author has veered into territory that is too sensitive for the Chron: Houston Chronicle, October 18, 2022: Every other newspaper, October 18, 2022: I find it interesting that in this latest episode, the Chronicle doesn't even print the name of the comic, elongating the strip vertically instead of printing the "Dilbert" title.
  9. Because I already had those and didn't want to eat the same thing for every meal. Why do you ask?
  10. Not the same thing. I'm talking about cars being parked in the middle of the street, with two lanes of traffic moving on either side of them.
  11. I tried the pizza ATM for lunch, and it wasn't bad. It wasn't excellent, but it's pizza from a vending machine, not a bistro in Ischia Porte. I don't think anyone who knowingly buys pizza from a vending machine is in a place to complain about quality. Not even on the internet. There are seven pizzas to choose from. I went with pepperoni because it's a good basic benchmark. There's a video that plays for the three minutes while you wait for your pizza to cook. Based on the visuals, I think the company is based in Toronto. Untitled.mp4 The result is not perfect, but it's perfectly edible. There wasn't much pepperoni flavor. Perhaps some of the others are a little more pronounced. But the crust was quite good. Overall, it reminds me of pizza from the California chain Pieology I think the nearest one to here is Austin. The downside is that all you get is a pizza. If you don't already have a drink, or if its host convenience store is closed, you're SOL. Also, there's nowhere to sit. I took my pizza to the Harris County Employee Smoking Lounge (a.k.a. the alley by the sally[port]), and it managed to stay hot and crispy the whole way there. Protip: There's a slot on the machine that has cello-wrapped plastic knives. Take one. The crust is pre-sliced before the pizza bakes, so the cheese runs across the seams, and you'll have to cut the cheese to get pie-shaped wedges out of it. I suspect the vending machine isn't doing too bad. I saw someone getting one as I was walking toward it. When I was waiting for the bake, someone asked me about it. And when I was coming back from eating, there was a young couple waiting for their Hawaiian pie to cook. That's three customers in about 40 minutes. Not bad for an out-of-the-way location with zero advertising.
  12. That's unpossible! I have been repeatedly assured that the reason Houston doesn't have a 100 story building isn't a lack of will, or imagination, or leadership, but because of hurricanes. This must be Fake News™️. (Cue the people who say the reason is the proximity of airports, even though that don't seem to stop other cities, and the FAA modifies flight paths all the time at the request of cities.)
  13. I'm resurrecting this decade-old thread because I came across a recent picture I took of 3100 Travis, and have the same question:
  14. Digging through some old photographs today, I found one I took in March: Back when Midtown was Little Saigon, almost every street had a Vietnamese name. This is the only one I've seen since I returned.
  15. Sorry that I didn't respond to this back when you asked, but yes — it was fixed. I happened to go by a couple of days later, and as of yesterday, it remains fixed.
  16. I saw some interesting parking once. Apparently, it used to be a thing from the 40's through to the 60's in mid-sized Midwest cities that the street parking would be in the middle of the street, usually angled. There are a few cities that still have that on their main streets. I wonder if that would be something to try in Midtown. Seems to me like it solves the problem of keeping parked cars and bicycles away from one another, and also serves as a speed-calming method. A quick Duck shows that it's being brought back in Philadelphia as an experiment, though not the same way as I saw in the Midwest:
  17. Yes. But not "these days," but for the entirety of this century so far, and in many places, a few decades of the last. And it's not just municipal construction. In some places, it's any big project, public or private. And it's not just hiring minority workers, but a requirement to hire minority or women-owned contracting companies, and to also hire workers from the city where the project is being built, so that construction companies don't bus in cheap day laborers from other states/nations. I choose Chicago as an example, because it's the city that I'm most familiar with. Any project of any size includes this section in the application:
  18. Not that I think either of the people arguing here will care what I think, but it's been my observation that there are cities and states that make a distinction between pedestrians in a crosswalk, and those about to enter one. My most recent experience is Nevada, where it's common to see signs similar to this one: This one is on a curb, but usually they're right in the middle of the street, on the double-yellow line. In practice, drivers slow down when they see the sign and someone on the sidewalk, but they do not stop. However, as soon as someone sets a foot off the curb, traffic in both directions immediately comes to a halt. As someone who would walk to Starbucks daily, rather than drive the three blocks like my neighbors did, I was frequently in that position, and started waiting for traffic to thin a bit before I stepped off the curb, just because I was inconveniencing so many people.
  19. I always liked this building. A bit art moderne. Reminds me of a streamlined version of Whitehaven Mansions in the television adaptations of Agatha Christie's Poirot stories. I believe there was a fire in this building about ten years ago. I remember one of the Houston TV stations contacting me when I lived elsewhere, asking for photos of it. I went to the New Orleans joint. Very nice people. There was me, one other person ordering, and a woman who picked up a to-go order. This was around 1:15pm. I got a small seafood gumbo: A big portion for a "small." Has a little bit of spice to it. I also got a smothered cabbage and a cornbread muffin: I don't know what it's smothered with. Maybe gravy? I got it because I've never seen smothered cabbage on a menu before, and I was in the mood for something different. It was good. I grew up with a mother who was forever trying to feed me canned sauerkraut, which turned me off to cabbage. But I liked this. A bit of sweetness to it. The cornbread was good, too, if a touch over-baked. And of course, beignets: I don't know why there are grapes in there. Maybe that's a thing I don't know about. If it's just for garnish, maybe some sprigs of mint might be a better idea. Regardless, these were quite good. They're smaller than the ones you get from Shipley's, and because of that they're a little denser. But the dough is quite different. It's has some flakiness and crispiness to it — a bit like filo. Really good. It comes with five, so if you're sharing, you'll have to decide who gets the leftover one beforehand. I recommend not sharing. Is the food great? I'm not qualified to say. I'm happy to have another downtown eatery that's not all gimmicky and pretentious, trying to be something it's not. I'm also happy that it's not yet-another-hamburger-stand, or yet-another-taco-joint (Tacos!? In Houston!? That's revolutionary! Maybe serve it from a truck, or in a food court if you really want go where everyone else has gone before!) I haven't had New Orleans food in a long time, so I'm glad to have this option. I'll also patronize it because not only is it open on weekends, it's open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. And it opens at 8am for breakfast, which is exactly when I want my beignets.
  20. I might forgive them for building a mammoth parking garage, if they did.
  21. Yep. That's what we used for ramps back in Big Wheel days!
  22. Excellent. Thank you! I've seen that banner before, but thought it was just another random daiquiri bar. I'll hobble over there today.
  23. Not ignored. Just haven't bubbled up to the top of the list yet. I've got to get through the list of fundamental problems with HAIF first, before I can start on the cosmetic issues.
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