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Everything posted by ssullivan

  1. I'll ftp later tonight after I'm done cropping and editing.
  2. Sure. Sorry I wasn't able to reply before now
  3. We're planning on going, and I'll have a camera with me.
  4. Delta isn't horrible; it's certainly better than United (most of the time; when United is good it tends to be really good, but it doesn't happen often) and Delta's customer service is miles above what you'll experience at US Airways (not that that's saying much). My biggest gripes with Delta are that they tend to be rather inconsistent with service delivery and the on-board product, and that they try very hard to come across as this ultra-hip and cool airline, while looking really lame in how they do it. I don't think you'll find them to be a really bad experience, but they are far from great.
  5. WOW. I had no idea that center at the corner of Westheimer and Montrose was that old, and used to look so good. What a disaster the modernization of the center's architecture was. If it still had the original art deco design, I'd be all for restoring it and keeping it as is, with the current parking lot between the center and Westheimer. But now that it's long been a generic, soulless shopping center, I'm all for tearing it down and rebuilding with no parking on the Westheimer and Montrose sides (but parking accessible from Lovett). It is such a great location for a mix of restaurants and shops. Even some of the existing places would be a great mix to fill some of the spaces in a redeveloped center (Half Price Books, 3-6-9, even Spec's and Papa John's), with the rest filled in by better retail than currently exists in the center. I still believe that the Montrose and Lower Westheimer corridors are primed for street-scape improvements to make the area more pedestrian friendly, considering the concentration of great retail, gallery, and dining options that exists in the area, and the general lack of parking. This is the type of neighborhood that draws a lot of people who live in other parts of the city, and all of the businesses would benefit greatly by making it easier for people to park in one location and walk to a variety of places in the neighborhood. MetroRail entering the area on Richmond, plus the current frequent Westheimer bus service, and hopefully increased Montrose bus service connecting to the Montrose/Richmond MetroRail station, would also enhance the neighborhood, making it easier to just leave the car at home, or use Metro after parking to get around the area.
  6. I've flown through several of those European airports you mentioned. They are not set up anything like what exists in Kansas City. At Gatwick, for example, passengers still clear central security screening checkpoints for the primary security screening. There are very limited retail services near the gates, but most of the retail is still behind security in the duty-free mall areas. The security at the gate is not really a full security checkpoint (which is what KC has); instead, you're just going through a secondary check of your passport, boarding pass, etc. The only real difference between those European airports and what you see at most airports in the US is that the gate areas are very spartan, and you are not encouraged to head for the gate until shortly before departure. However, the primary waiting areas (the "malls") on the concourse are behind the primary security checkpoints.
  7. I'm looking forward to visiting Discovery Green for the first time in a couple of weeks when I'm back home in Houston for a weekend. I'm thinking the BF and I should take a break from packing my stuff for the Atlanta move mid-day Saturday, hop the MetroRail up to downtown, and have a burger at the Lake House while checking out the new park.
  8. Welcome World Explorer! I agree. Those routes are far too profitable and important to go away, even in a proposed merger scenario. I'm still hoping and praying that the Delta/Northwest merger falls apart. I have yet to see any benefit to it for anyone other than institutional investors and high-ranking executives at both companies. Employees and customer are just going to get run over on this deal. It will do nothing to solve the poor management issues that have plagued both of these airlines, and are much of the reason why both have not been performing well financially.
  9. Yeah not a big fan of it either, except when I'm flying to Kansas City as my destination. Then it's perfect
  10. Huh, hadn't noticed that, and I live right around the corner from there. I believe that was the first Residence Inn in Houston.
  11. Kansas City is one of the few airports that has this type of set up. It was done because there was virtually no other option, due to the terminal design. It works OK for origin/destination traffic, but is a real pain for connections. It's also very inconvenient if your flight in Kansas City is delayed, because you almost always have to leave the secured gate area to get to restaurants and shops, which means having to clear security again to enter the gate area. In fact, before renovations were completed a few years ago, you had to leave the secured gate area at Kansas City to even use the restroom. Having separate security screening at each gate is not practical for a large hub airport, and it does not even work that well at airports like Kansas City, where there are relatively few connecting passengers.
  12. ssullivan

    Route 66

    I've driven some of the original segments in Oklahoma and Texas. It's quite interesting in some places, especially where it branches off from I-44. Some states have done a pretty good job of marking the original route, so that you can easily navigate along the different segments that still remain.
  13. Other than Aloha, the other's aren't much of a loss. Nobody who watches the industry is surprised that ATA shut down -- they were on the verge of it and had only a handful of scheduled service routes left. Skybus... seriously, anyone who thought they were going to make it long-term was smoking something. Common sense says that no matter how cheap you sell your tickets, when you're flying routes that nobody wants to fly, you're not going to make any money. And Champion is a charter-only operation flying an entirely 727 fleet, and has lost several key contracts in the last year. I did book a ticket on Champion back in December from DFW to Las Vegas just for the heck of it -- I wanted to fly a 727 one last time, and had never had the experience of flying on a high density charter carrier before.
  14. And people wonder why the Dell computers they buy today fall apart, when the ones they bought 10 years ago were practically indestructable...
  15. This has been my experience as well working with a couple of Realtors in Houston as a potential buyer. They never asked me to sign anything or pay any sort of retainer, despite looking at a variety of properties and not buying anything. And I've had a similar experience recently with the purchase of a condo in Atlanta. Our Realtor there never asked us to sign anything until we were making an offer on a place that we're scheduled to close on next week. And in that transaction the commissions are being fully paid by the seller. If a Realtor ever asked me to pay a retainer as a buyer's agent, I'd find another Realtor. Same thing if one asked me as a buyer to pay up the commission if the seller had negotiated something lower than the standard 6%.
  16. He is creepy, and just way too happy to be demonstrating those flotation devices. I just watched it again. The whole thing is just odd. It ranks right up there with United's Ted safety video with the constant "Ted says" and "Ted recommends" and the floating seats with people in them for weirdness.
  17. I always get a kick out of Delta's desperate attempts to be hip and cool.
  18. Yes, the Macy's in Galleria IV (the part South of West Alabama Street) was a Foley's when it was built. You're referring to the Macy's in Galleria III. It is old and worn and was in need of renovation before Macy's took over the Galleria Foley's. I still don't understand why Macy's insists on keeping both Galleria stores. Not only is the one in Galleria III in dire need of an upgrade, it's a pain to get to. The larger, newer, and MUCH nicer Galleria IV Macy's (the old Foley's) gets a lot more traffic, and is far more visible.
  19. Ho hum. I've never been that excited over city-wide wi-fi anyway. The few cities that I've tried it in I've generally found it to be only margainally usable. Those of us who want, and need, fast and reliable Internet, aren't going to rely on free service from the city. We'll just pay for it.
  20. Oh well. When I used to work in Houston we used to keep The Wave on in the background sometimes in the office. Never really minded it, and sorry to see it go just because it means a little less diversity in the Houston radio market. But I'm a very loyal XM subscriber, so it's not like I've listened to Houston radio much in the last 2.5 years anyway. At home I have the clock radio set to come on NPR in the mornings, because I listen to their news while getting up and ready. In the car I occasionally switch to NPR, but mostly I'm on XM. Yes I have to pay a little money every year for that privilege. But what I get in return is SO much better than what's coming over the free airwaves in Houston.
  21. If you read my post again, you'll see that my comment about the city inadequately funding the zoo was more an issue before the zoo started charging admission -- at a time when it was largely dependent on the city for financial support. Since the changes in how the zoo was managed were put in place, which included charging admission, very large renovation projects have been undertaken. There's a lot more corporate sponsorship of the major projects at the zoo than there was in the past. Improvements take time. But if you look at the areas that have been improved -- things such as the primates exhibit, children's petting zoo, and even the big cats exhibit (one of the older renovations at this point), the improvements are quite evident. A large portion of the zoo has been closed off for several years now for the development of the new African exhibit, which will greatly improve the quality of the zoo's habitats for many animals. But projects like these don't happen overnight. It takes years of planning and fundraising before construction can even start; then it may take several years to build the new habitat areas. Admission fees at the zoo are quite reasonable -- and there are numerous free admission days every year. And as previously mentioned, the family memberships are a great bargain for families that visit several times a year.
  22. Houston's zoo has actually improved a lot since they started charging admission. I'll agree with you that it's not as nice as Brownsville's, or some of the other zoos in major cities, but it has improved greatly from what it was and continues to get better. Part of the problem was that for many years the zoo was not only free, but it was also not receiving adequate financial support from the city. The relatively small amount of land the zoo has to work with also hasn't helped.
  23. Fortunately this is something that's becoming more commonplace now. I experienced a similar joy at finding all of my data and personalizations loaded on a replacement phone when my T-Mobile BlackBerry was replaced under warranty back in December. After plugging in the replacement phone to my computer and running the device transfer wizard that's part of BlackBerry's software, my new handset had all of my data and personal settings from the old one. I've seen a few Samsung non-smart phones that have this capability as well.
  24. Glad to see this moving forward! I'm looking forward to staying in one of these before long.
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