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MikeRichardson

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Everything posted by MikeRichardson

  1. So my day started off like this... And it ended something like this... Still, I'd do it again. It's fulfilling. We opened on time at 7 am and had no major issues.
  2. This needs to be opposed full stop. This is a horrible idea, your grocery prices absolutely will go up even more if this horrible deal is approved. Write whoever, senator, congressman, maybe just start rioting or something, there is no way in hell this should be allowed. And not just cause I don't want to see Randalls die it's just a total shitshow for this to even have been proposed. --------------- Saw this ad today, I usually manipulate the page to skip the ad but I noticed it was for O Organics and wanted to check the banner. So it's probably just got Houston in the general geo-targeting with an "Insert Randalls.png" logo or some such towards the end.
  3. I know of a place that did that - https://www.galleriaoaks5151.com If you look on HCAD it's still divided into condos, and the complex owns all but a few of them (last time I checked anyway).
  4. Store 1012 - 5210 FM 1960 W https://images1.loopnet.com/d2/8uif0s06laDTGy17Hpa3iTJOgPAeCkX_Rm75RSBT_kI/Champions VillageFlyer.pdf (also attached to the post) I predict that this store will close in 2024 😕 Another grocery store will probably lease the space quickly, though. (This is exactly what happened at 9503 Jones Rd). The store opened as a "Handy Andy" in 1974 (not a Randalls). I forget when Randalls bought Handy Andy. 878856414_Champions20VillageFlyer.pdf
  5. I am fairly skilled at web scraping. My friend wanted to buy a PS5, so I wrote a script that would scrape walmart.com for a PS5 every minute (ignoring the scammy marketplace sellers). I would use my server's 5 IP addresses in rotating order, so that any one IP would not be blocked. The script would send me and my friend a text (using @vtext.com and the one for AT&T) when it found them for sale. My script did eventually find Walmart PS5's for sale, but we weren't able to log on fast enough to buy it. Every month or so Walmart would change their site slightly, requiring a corresponding change to my script. Eventually my friend got one from Sony directly, so I stopped updating the script. (I have a PS4 and it looks fine, so I could care less really.) Anyway, the permit site looks fairly easy to submit a search and scrape. Worst case scenario, you can actually run a type of virtual Firefox browser, and then "type" or pick from selection menus, "submit" the form and then scrape the data presented. Demo permits would only need to be scraped once a day, so IPs shouldn't be a problem. I would just need to decipher the "PROJECT_DESC" column. I think what I want are "DEMO RES/SEWER DISC" and "DEMO BLD/ SEWER DISC". The data does seem to have crappy inconsistencies for some reason. Sometimes it says "DEMO BLDG/SEWER DISC" or "DEMO RES / SEWER DISC". If I delete all the spaces, then I can check for fewer matches, just "RES" or "BLD" or "BLDG". RES is obviously Residential. I am not sure if BLD and BLDG always/sometimes mean Commercial. Maybe if I got a scraper working, I could just start "posting" those to the existing Swamplot, and then see how much that increases traffic, which might then attract a new editor and stuff.
  6. I vaguely remember SwampLot had a post that said something like, "If we could get new editors/writers we could keep the site going". The site subsequently "closed" but has been kind enough to stay online, with someone paying the bills. It showed up in a Google search I just did for Timber Cop Condos. I certainly couldn't write every day but I could host the site and provide technical support, and an occasional writeup. (Swamplot has published my photos and even analysis before). I have a server in a Houston area datacenter that would be perfect. We would need an official editor though and some writer(s) I guess? Would anyone be up for doing that? There's not really listed "authors" for the stories on Swamplot so I have no idea if it was really one person or several people. I know a lot of it was submissions and then the site would add a little write up to it. Then there was the weekly stuff and the demolition reports. I'm a programmer so I bet the demolition reports could actually be automated to some degree, by scraping the relevant Houston city site. A post could be created and queued up, and someone could add pithy commentary if desired before it was published at some standard time. I don't think anything ever really replaced Swamplot. It used to be one of those sites I'd check almost daily. If there's any interest in someone acting as the editor or a writer or something make a post. Or maybe this idea is stupid because someone else already replaced Swamplot, or no one cares anymore.
  7. https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2022/01/13/partners-capital-buys-clear-lake-retail-center.html "The former Randalls has been sitting empty for about two years... Randalls’ lease on the building doesn’t expire until March 2024" If rent is $10,000 a month, then it costs you $10,000 a month to have an empty store. It only makes sense to have an empty store if you were somehow losing more than $10,000 a month. Why would you then not try something else like laying off a few people? Sure that's not ideal, but I mean, they always say something like "The employees were offered positions at other stores" but you know they didn't all get positions. So either way it would happen. (Stuff like write-offs might affect those numbers to some degree.) It also stands to reason that if you have fewer stores, you have less purchasing power. Which would just seem to screw the remaining stores further.
  8. I hit 200 posts and got a notification that says, "Congratulations! You've increased your rank to ! " I'm guessing it should have said "Full Member". Also, is there any kind of additional privilege that comes with that, or just bragging rights?
  9. Well I totally missed this one. https://communityimpact.com/houston/sugar-land-missouri-city/impacts/2022/06/28/following-randalls-closure-anchor-position-at-sugar-lands-williams-trace-plaza-now-available/ God damnit. Just, stupid. Except for the fact that I think these stores are all closing when they're 25 or 30 years old which also seems to be the standard term lease. I actually found an entire Randalls lease contract online once. I think I saved it somewhere. I do remember it was for 25 years, but it also had built in yearly rent raises. So I don't think that the rent should significantly increase after the term is up, but everything is pretty screwed up these days, so who knows. 9660 Westheimer got completely rebuilt, so we know they're capable of negotiating this type of thing. I'd like to see some magazine do a long form post-mortem when they're finally done squandering Randalls. Maybe Texas Monthly or something like that. Start at the beginning, with the history but at least half of should dissect how Safeway and then Albertsons completely just wasted it away. There's a neat old picture of one of the original Randalls stores, at the FM 1960 store in one of the vestibules. (The other vestibule has an old Albertsons picture). I'll dig through my phone for it.
  10. Here's a weird screen I got logging into Randalls.com It's probably just a stupid error, but it could also be an intentional leak that they plan to rebrand Randalls as Safeway. Which would be just about the dumbest thing they could do in my opinion. If they were going to rebrand the stores for some reason, I'd go with Tom Thumb, which at least has a presence in Texas. People in Houston would have no opinion of Tom Thumb, where they might have a significant opinion of Safeway or even Albertsons.
  11. Modest updates were made. A few new files, plus the categories are in a table that show when that category was last modified. (Any category with a blank was modified over a year ago). https://hctra.co
  12. How many condo complexes have actually voted to sell out and be demolished? I'm in the market for a condo now most likely inside the Beltway. I'm curious how many condo complexes have actually voted to sell out and be demolished? (If you don't know my backstory I was one of the last old Westcreek residents before all the towers went up). I only know of the one, somewhere near the West Loop and I can't recall the name right now. It was on Swamplot though (RIP :( ) If you can recall any others please post them. What are typical % of owners required to sell out to demolish? (It seems to be quite north of 50%) Of course, if developers offered enough - if they truly made it worth the owners' while, then bye bye, I'm not stupid and won't hold up a good deal. I'm just curious as to what has happened before.
  13. It seems like store traffic is up from my informal observations. Noticing a lot of people in the self checkouts not bothering with a card anymore.
  14. I have used METRO several times, mainly to get to/from auto repair shops when a friend couldn't take me. I actually found it to be well air conditioned, safe, and not even full those several times. In fact one time she (the bus driver) even let me on for free, due to the bill reader would not take my wrinkled bill (I do not have a Q card) and she wanted to move things along I guess. Maybe she thought I couldn't afford it but I wasn't going to argue with her either. I think I also used METRO one time to get to jury duty, in that case you just show the summons and you can get to wherever you need to go. I do not think rebranding would be worth the considerable expense (in terms of ROI - I don't think they'd gain that much new ridership).
  15. The updated HCTRA.CO site is now live: https://hctra.co Now featuring Sans-Serif fonts! Finally joining the 21st century 😛
  16. What if you instead looked at it this way? I personally almost never take the toll roads. I go to see my mom almost every week for Sunday dinner (driving from Westheimer to 249), and those trips occur on State Highway Beltway 8 (aka the feeder), instead of the toll road. Out of ~100 trips (50 x 2) in the past year, I took the toll road only twice due to extenuating circumstances. However, I still benefit from "[the diversion of] money from HCTRA to use on other government functions, with initial withdrawals being used to supplement flood control funds" as stated by "Houston Freeways author Oscar Slotboom" on MaxConcrete's blog. I am enjoying those improvements without having really contributed any money whatsoever (not even $10 total in total tolls spent). So is that like I am not paying taxes in those cases??? I don't see at _all_ how it's fair that the toll road users alone should be paying for these massive improvements to flood control and roads unrelated to the toll roads. If we want to improve non-toll roads and flood control we need to pass the appropriate tax increases and/or bonds (as we did with the flood bond post Harvey, that I voted for). There is an infamous rumor that HCTRA promised to make the toll roads free after the bonds were paid off. In fact, the rumor is true. Unfortunately, the only original proof is on an old ABC13 article, which I link to from my alternate site at https://hctra.us. Fortunately, HCTRA actually provides proof in every contemporary financial report they have published! Here is their statement from the FY2010 report (source http://hctra.co/financials/Toll Road FY2010.pdf): But HCTRA keeps "[diverting] money from HCTRA to use on other government functions". Hundreds of millions of dollars a year! How could they *ever* pay off their obligations in Note 7 under such conditions? Not to mention the "pooling of projects" (exact term might be different) which occurred in a commissioners' court meeting approximately two weeks after 9/11 (source http://hctra.co/commissioners/0119ag.pdf), which basically blends the financials for all of the toll roads all together instead of each one being a separate project. That makes the proposal on MaxConcrete's blog "toll removal should be facilities which have generated far more revenue than their original cost... the original three sections of the Sam Houston Tollway" almost if not completely impossible! The entire System, in my opinion, has been carefully orchestrated to be never-ending, and to make up for shortfalls in the County budget that are more appropriately addressed by other means (issuance of bonds and/or tax increase and/or reduction of budget in other areas, etc.)
  17. The fried chicken is pretty good, with a sale every Monday. I do see a lot of people carrying that out (from the 2 stores I frequent - haven't been to Midtown in a few years and only a few times since it opened). If they'd just advertise the "no card needed now" angle they'd surely regain a not insignificant number of customers who are turned off by the card. You can attribute this to Albertson's being the apparently successor company out of the Safeway/Albertson's merger. (Besides, who needs those cards to track people anymore? You can just track them using their Debit or Credit Card #, or maybe Bluetooth/WiFi pings off their phone.) Maybe put the Boar's Head back, I honestly could give a crap, but I've seen a lot of people grousing about that. There are still some benefits to the card, you still get the gas points and also a free item every month. The points are redeemable at either Shell or Chevron, I forget which one it is now (as well as the Randalls gas stations all 5 or whatever of them).
  18. So, I don't want to suggest this as a general policy. But I was basically ~ok~ with that during the worst of the pandemic you know? I still had drive to my mom's place weekly, you know? Her car is fu**ed up. I'd bring her groceries and stuff. And who was right there on my way? Memorial Dr. Randalls. Awesome store there.
  19. Updates: FY 2019, 2020, and 2021 have been added to the site. (HCTRA has a nasty habit of deleting these after they get too old. We will archive every year in perpetuity.) Also, the PDF names have been standardized. Please feel free to link directly to PDFs in the Financials directory. https://hctra.co/financials/ Luminare makes a valid point here, I will be updating the main page soon since it now contains inaccurate information.
  20. So here's a letter I wrote to Randalls the other day. I submitted using their app, which has always gotten a response for other issues I have complained about using said app. In summary: Randalls, please grow some balls and actually f*cking compete in this market! Edit: The below mentioned Westheimer store was historically a 24 hour store long ago. Randalls' operation of 24 hour stores is mentioned in this Houston Press article: https://www.houstonpress.com/news/where-are-they-when-you-need-them-6573131 and I also have an old picture of the Westheimer store (9660 Pre Rebuild) with 24 hour signage somewhere.
  21. I just saw an actual Randall's TV commercial on one of the Vizio/Pluto Watch Free channels on my TV! It was short (15 seconds), and probably generic - "Visit your local INSERT_STORE_NAME_HERE today" - but it was a legitimate ad for Randall's.
  22. Chron.com has posted more pictures of Boris Yeltsin visiting Randalls #30. It has been said that Yeltsin "was so overwhelmed by the variety of food that his faith in Communism was shattered." It wasn't even a Flagship Randall's. Now it's a Food Town. https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bayarea/news/article/When-Boris-Yeltsin-went-grocery-shopping-in-Clear-5759129.php
  23. Saw this on Facebook today. At least Randalls is advertising ***somewhere*** still. Pretty smart too I'd say since they could target zip codes in Houston where they still have actual goddamned stores... Randalls now has more Austin area stores than Houston which is quite "Remarkable" when you think about it.
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