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About Reefmonkey

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  • Birthday 01/23/1976

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    Memorial area
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    Dining, international travel, kayaking in the Gulf and West Bay, sailing, diving, cooking, reading, gardening, wine, margaritas. Native Houstonian, grew up in Spring/Klein area.

    Bachelors in Biology, Masters in Environmental Science, used to be an environmental consultant, doing soil and groundwater risk-based remediation for closures, Brownfields on hazardous waste-impacted sites. Now do beneficial reuse for waste chemicals, coproducts, etc.

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  1. According to Target's website, their first expansion out of Minnesota happened in 1968, and Houston was one of the cities for this initial expansion: 1968 Updating the Bullseye In the late 1960s, Target expands across the country to the metro areas of St. Louis, Dallas and Houston. https://corporate.target.com/about/purpose-history/Target-through-the-years I've heard a rumor that North Oaks Cinema hosted a regular midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show back in the 80s. Does anyone know if this is true?
  2. Thank you, I appreciate that, and I did not mean to impugn all cyclists, it's just that I've had experiences with certain cyclists who take their cycling a little too seriously and aren't considerate of others. I hike or run along either Terry Hershey or the Bush Park hike and bike trail about 4 miles, almost every day. Bush Park isn't too bad, but on Terry Hershey I avoid the paved trail and stay on the dirt part as much as possible, because even though most cyclists there are very considerate, there are still enough who go way too fast for a path that size that is also usually fairly crowded with walkers as well.
  3. Possible, but who I saw most frequently was a group of 10-12 guys, all wearing matching cycling jerseys, all riding close together in a big group, none of them had laptop bags or backpacks (a few had small camelbacks) and it was like they were a fixture on Briar Forest every afternoon for several weeks in the spring, but not the rest of the year.
  4. Seems I touched a nerve. Look, I'm not opposed to bikes being on the road, I support more bike lanes being established, and remember, I'm the one who started this thread because it seemed sketchy to me that the Villages could ban bikes from Memorial. Just because I said that I find it kind of annoying that certain cyclists choose to use certain roads at certain times does not mean I am suggesting they shouldn't be allowed to use those roads, so your getting your hackles up at me is misplaced, and frankly, you saying that I am "less equipped" to discuss an activity that does directly affect me is pretty arrogant. Again, I'm not talking about banning bicycles from any roads, I'm actually opposed to doing so, which is why I started this thread, just making a sidebar comment that choosing a commuting corridor during the height of rush hour for you and a big gaggle of your other cycling buddies to get your afternoon workout in may not be the most considerate thing to do. If you can't understand that, that's your problem. This is not some animus against bikes on my part, I'd feel the same way about people in cars making a decision to do some nonessential non-commuting activity on the roads during rush hour. In fact, I can think of an example of such an activity. Last year, there was a store, I think it was a furniture store, along the eastbound I-10 feeder road between Kirkwood and the Beltway, that was having a going out of business sale that lasted I'd say a good two months. The way they choose to advertise this sale was to put big signs on the roofs of several cars and have them drive in a big slow convoy on the I-10 feeder road, with westbound traffic, during afternoon rush hour. I thought that was a pretty obnoxious way to advertise their business, it didn't make me feel badly that they were going out of business, and it certainly didn't make me want to buy any of their furniture.
  5. I'm not a bike rider myself, and it surprises me not just where, but when hardcore cyclists choose to ride. My afternoon commute used to travel westbound along Briar Forest between Wilcrest and Dairy-Ashford, and it used to frustrate me that large packs of Lance Armstrong wannabes would choose that same route as their afternoon workout ride. It was ~5:30 in the afternoon, rush hour westbound traffic, and they're riding 3,4 abreast, taking up an entire lane and going significantly slower than the rest of traffic. I know we're supposed to "Share The Road" with bikes and all, but I think cyclists like these give the rest a bad rep. I wonder if the people in the Villages just got tired of large gaggles of cyclists gumming up traffic?
  6. I was driving along Memorial Drive this weekend and noticed several "Bicycles prohibited on roadway" signs, starting in Hunter's Creek and going all the way to Bunker Hill. I know bicycles are prohibited on limited access roads like freeways and tollways, where the minimum speed limit is 45, however I wonder about banning bikes from regular surface streets. I don't see such signs along the stretch of Memorial I live on, west of BW8. I know there is a trail along the road, but it looks to me more like a sidewalk, too narrow to safely accommodate both cyclists and pedestrian, as well as not being a great condition for wheeled vehicles (too many expansion joints too close together). Considering these are the Villages, I wonder if they even have the authority to ban bicycles from a road like Memorial - I mean, these neighborhoods along Memorial also had "soliciting is prohibited" signs, even though I know from serving on my own HOA board and fielding complaints about why we don't get the constables to enforce our no soliciting signs, that it's actually unconstitutional to prevent door-to-door solicitation. I know affluent neighborhoods like the Villages had even more Karens willing to drop a dime on any POC who dares try to sell them a magazine subscription than mine does, and want signs up to deter that even if it's unenforceable, so I could also imagine them wanting signs up to deter bicyclists from outside the Villages enjoying a ride in their leafy neighborhood. So, anyone know if this kind of ban on bicycles on a roadway like Memorial is enforceable?
  7. Interesting paper. It looks like only three suicides according to page 60, and the paper only gives info on two: George Groschke, who was 72 years old and distraught over the recent death of his wife, and Rudolph Hoffmann, who had resisted the Corps of Engineers purchase. The attribution of their suicides to the dam is based on personal interviews conducted with people some 60 years after their deaths. Whether these people had firs, second, or third-hand knowledge of their deaths is unknown, and such testimony isn't super-reliable. And as my psychologist wife says, people rarely commit suicide over one thing. So probably the best that can be said is there were a couple of suicides around the time of the building of the dams that may have been influenced in part by the takeover of the land, but to assert as John Rich does that "Several of the German immigrants were so distraught over the take-over of their land for the reservoir, that they commited suicde rather than see their land and homes taken by the government" is probably to overstate things.
  8. Absolutely parents and children have rights and should avail themselves of the processes to assert those rights. But there are affluent parents who are abusing those processes to coerce schools into providing services their children don't qualify for, in order to give their already-priviledged children more advantages. In the wake of last year's college admissions cheating scandal, is this so hard to believe? Autism is the new hip label, and it and ADHD come with all sorts of accomodations, including on SAT and ACT tests. When a parent threatens to go to due process because testing found their child didn't qualify, the district has two options: fight them in due process, which might end up going to federal court, and cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars, or cave in and give those services, which would cost tens of thousands over time instead. Usually districts choose the latter, which is cheaper, but sometimes do fight, to prevent precedents from being established, and usually get vilified for it, whether they win or lose. And which ever way the school goes, the process takes away money that is needed for truly needy kids. I'm not saying that all or even most kids in special ed are there illegitimately, to the contrary, but even with true disabilities, a lot of times parents have unrealistic expectations of the kind of services schools should provide, they may be misinformed about what are appropriate interventions for their child's disabilities. They may also expect a Cadillac when schools are only required to pay for a Chevrolet. Schools are often put in impossible situations, often with unfunded mandates. There are a lot of seriously mentally ill students out there, dangers to themselves and others, some so seriously ill that they require inpatient treatment costing upwards of $100,000 a year, and schools have been ordered to pay for this. Think about it, if a child has cancer, a disease that is beyond a school nurse's ability to treat, is the school on the hook for paying to send the child to MD Anderson? Then why are schools being paid to treat severe mental illnesses, diseases that are beyond a school system's ability to treat? This is the intersection between our society's dysfunctional unequal attitude towards mental illness in comparison to physical illness, and our state's dysfunctional school finance system.
  9. I did stop by when I was up visiting my parents this weekend, and pick up a golf shirt with the club logo on it, for sentimental reasons. Not much selection left in the pro shop, so if if anyone wants a memento, better get there fast.
  10. Yeah, my parents have been members since the early 80s, I practically grew up there - swimming lessons, tennis lessons (my cousin was a pro there in the mid-late 80s), some of the first autonomy my brothers and I got as kids was being allowed to ride our bikes up there by ourselves, meet up with friends and swim in the pool, and charge lunch to our membership number at the snack bar. We'd do Sunday brunch there a lot. The fancy brunch in the Oak Room used to be great, and we even liked just going to the coffee shop for breakfast or lunch on weekends, too.They used to have a great social program there, too. My parents did several New Years Eves there, because their black tie ball was so good. They had great parties for the whole family, too, I remember a Miami Vice-themed one in particular. The parents would hang out and socialize while the kids would congregate with friends and classmates. But it's been going downhill for decades. The food went downhill in the early 90s, and occasionally they'd bring in a new chef who'd improve things for a while, but they never seemed able to keep them. If you don't have good food you're not going to retain members, let alone attract new ones. The last time I went was 2 years ago for Mother's Day. The buffet was god-awful, scant selection, not very good quality, and what they had, they kept running out of. Drinks took forever to get refilled. And the Oak Room was only about half-full. Meanwhile the manager was just standing around gladhanding guests as they came in rather than going into the kitchen to figure out what the problem was. The owner himself (who isn't the original) has never cared about the club, and before the county flood control district came to him, a group of members had gotten together and offered to buy the club from him (and this is Champion Forest, so these were a bunch of pretty wealthy guys), but he didn't care, blew them off, then took this offer several months later. Between the bad food and service, and closing the new golf course several years ago, all the serious golfers moved on to Champions years ago, and most of everyone else to Northgate and elsewhere. So, as much as it's sad to see it go, it was a shadow of its former self anyway. Lots of my parents' friends flooded in Harvey, and some had flooded before that too, so if the new flood control there protects people, that will be a good thing. If they do it right, I'm thinking like Terry Hershey along Buffalo Bayou where I live now, the new parkland along the bayou could also be a real asset to everyone in that area, not just a dying private club for a few lingering members.
  11. Looking into it, appears you are correct, Emmett's camp did claim the trip was paid with campaign funds. I wonder if that's what his Harris County Republican campaign donors expected their money to be spent on? And was traveling to other countries to visit water parks what we elected him to do? Did he use personal vacation time, or was he "on the job" when he was over there? I always took a dim view of Lee Brown's overseas trips; local elected officials are elected to govern locally, they have no foreign policy role and foreign trips should be unnecessary. If an elected official wants to use their private money and their vacation time to take a vacation, and tack on a busman's holiday to see something they think might apply to their job, that's their prerogative. When they spend money other than their personal money, it's pretty obvious that's not how they see the trip.
  12. Well, I was happy to engage in civil, mature discourse on the subject and assume good faith, but seems like it's just too emotional an issue for some other people to approach objectively. Oh well.
  13. So is there a difference between a Texas Historic Landmark and a Texas Antiquities Landmark? If so, what is it? Because its my understanding that with a TAL designation, if you fail to get the permit from THC, they can fine you up to $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail. Though I've heard in practice they never pursue it.
  14. Half my neighborhood (West Memorial area, right along the Bayou) flooded in Harvey. I'd say about half the houses that flooded were either raised, or torn down and rebuilt with the first floor elevated.
  15. There appears to be what I am sure was unintentional mischaracterization of my last post, so I will do my best to clarify now. I did not recommend razing the Astrodome because it might get in the way of a possible future as-yet-unconceived development. What I said was: 1. Leaving the dome idle for posterity like a "rusting ship" is not reasonable. Even the dome's most ardent preservationist cheerleader, Ed Emmet, said so ("rusting ship" was his turn of phrase). 2. The public has made it clear that they don't want to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars required to rehabilitate the dome to useful life. That means private money, and private investors would want revenue that would produce a good ROI. 3. The dome's close proximity to NRG Stadium and NRG Center mean that year-round use of the dome by a private business/businesses would interfere with Texans and HLSR activity, according to Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. Executive Director Ryan Walsh. Curtailing that private business during the 6 weeks of Rodeo alone would limit a private venture's ability to make that ROI. 4. So the only way to add a business to NRG Park would be to site it away from NRG Stadium, Center, and Astrodome so there would be no interference. I'll add here that since most of the unbuilt land on NRG Park is parking lot, to make up for that, turning the Astrodome into parking space would likely be necessary to compensate for the displaced parking elsewhere. Just converting the dome to a parking structure without all the other amenities Emmett dreamed of might not cost the full $105 million, but it will still be significantly more expensive than simply razing it and putting in a flat parking, and again, the public has made it clear they don't want to spend that kind of money. So that narrows it down to spending $28 million on a parking lot. 5. There is another alternative. Instead of spending $28 million on a parking lot, $20 million of which is backfilling a giant hole, spend only $8 million and leave the hole. Turn that hole into a flood retention pond, which would help protect NRG Park and even the surrounding area from flooding, and which could be beautified with landscaping. Imagine walking out of a Texans game, or the Livestock Show, or the Car or Boat Shows, and instead of seeing a "rusting ship" of a vacant, idle old stadium, visitors would encounter a 9 acre lake fringed with bald cypress trees, cattails and bulrush, with great blue herons, white ibises, and roseate spoonbills wading the shoreline. Imagine people all around the country watching Texans pregame shows on their TVs seeing that sight, how that would help to counter Houston's reputation as an ugly city that not only doesn't care about the natural environment, has no natural environment to care about. It's about highest best use practical for that piece of property at the lowest cost. Moldering mausoleum for past memories, or vibrant natural habitat that beautifies NRG Park while also aiding in the protection of property and lives during flood events?
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