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About Reefmonkey

  • Birthday 01/23/1976

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    Memorial area
  • Interests
    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, Certificate in Sustainable Management, Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP), LEED Green Associate

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  1. I saw this pic of the Alabama Theatre showing Empire Strikes Back on one of those annoying clickbait listicles on Facebook, but had to share. I never got to know the Alabama Theatre as a movie theatre, just enjoyed it as a Bookstop starting in high school, was sad when the interior character that had been preserved when it was a book store was obliterated by Trader Joes.
  2. The recent death of Paul Sorvino, coming closely on the heels of Ray Liotta's death, got me think of Goodfellas, a longtime favorite movie of mine. It came out my freshman year in high school, and spurred a fascination with the mafia that lasted the rest of high school (and a little into college, I made a point to eat at Campisi's my freshman year at SMU). One way I fed that fascination, once I got a car, was by eating at venerable old-school red sauce joints, the red-checkered tablecloth, candle in an old straw-covered chianti bottle Italian restaurants we all remember before Northern Italian grabbed American's attention in the late 80s. Several of the old-school places around Houston had a mafia joint vibe about them, places like Pino's on Westheimer at Hillcroft (c.1968-c.2005), Doyle's in Garden Oaks (1954-2019), Buon Appetito, in an old house on Holcombe (1975-c.2018). As you can see, it seems like all of these places closed within the last 15 years or so. Does anyone know of any long-standing venerable old southern Italian restaurant with the mafia hangout vibe I'm talking about that are still around?
  3. There actually is such a law, under Section 1415(i)(3)(B)(i)(II) of IDEA 2004, which allows school districts to recover attorney's fees from parents who make frivolous or unreasonable die process claims. However, districts rarely resort to this except in especially egregious cases to avoid the bad publicity. I'm trying to find the article from a few years ago, I think it was written by Lisa Falkenberg, where a Houston-area district sued a parent over a frivolous claim, and won, but the article spun it to sound like Big Bad School uses legal system to further victimize Poor Parents of A Disabled Child.
  4. One guess I'd make is that since I-10 West is a designated hurricane evacuation route they want to make sure it stays open even during the heavy rains from outer bands that can move into our area in advance of a hurricane.
  5. Over the last 20 years, it hasn't been uncommon for annual homicides to fluctuate up or down by as much as 60 from year to year, so 5 fewer homicides in the first half of 2022 vs 2021 is meaningless. It's almost as meaningless as the "skyrocketing" homicide rate the local media was reporting earlier this year because January 2022 homicides were higher than January 2021 homicides. Trying to parse out a month or 3 or 6 months out of a year and compare it to the same months in the previous year to reach a conclusion about where the homicide rate is going is pointless. Show me a steady increase or decline over at least three full years, and then we'll talk.
  6. I’m sorry, I’m sure you worked really hard to craft a litany of clever insults in that very long post, and I really tried to make a good faith effort to read it, but my eyes glazed over midway though the second sentence and I just lost interest. This gotten really tedious and I’ve lost interest. Bye bye
  7. You definitely have a point that my original post was “letting off steam,” and I didn’t expect that anyone would react to it the way you did, and I was a bit taken aback by your condescension, and so I pushed back against it. And now I know that is where I erred; had I reviewed all the ongoing clashes you are currently having with so many people on the I-45 Rebuild thread, and the thread on Greg Abbott running for reelection, and the one on Lina Hidalgo’s aides being indicted, (and probably others I haven't even seen), I would have understood what I was dealing with. I would have seen you engaging in: Homophobia: Ableism in the form of mocking peoples’ disabilities: Misogyny and body shaming: and I definitely would have known then what kind of a person you are. (By the way, the way you use derogatory nicknames and focus on physical appearance is very similar to how Donald Trump talks). Seeing all the anger and hatred and need for conflict with people you have, I would have anticipated that me simply calling you “smart guy” and presenting you with a piece of information that challenged your self-satisfied conclusions would have triggered you and provoked such a disproportionate response as this torrent of insults: Obviously I made a huge mistake in not recognizing what kind of person you are, what kind of issues you’ve got going on earlier. I can tell you’re the kind of person it doesn’t pay to get crossways with, and someone with as much seething anger at so many people and classes of people is usually the kind to hold grudges for a long time, look for ways to needle a person long after an initial confrontation, and that probably wouldn’t make my use of this forum very enjoyable going forward. So mattyt36, I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to you. I apologize for triggering you by calling you “smart guy.” I apologize for not having immediately prostrated myself before your obviously vastly superior knowledge of both the airline industry and my own personal experiences. I hope my expression of contrition will be satisfactory to you and we can part ways with no lingering animosity.
  8. Amtrak's stations are in convenient places for travelers, like downtown Houston, or over near the Alamodome in San Antonio. These are not good places to have the large fuel depots with high capacity tanks for rapid fueling of locomotives with 2-4,000 gallon fuel capacities. Those kinds of facilities are found in large railyards in industrial areas on the outskirts of town. But like I said, given that the fuel range of a train is at least a couple times the distance between the two termini of the Sunset line (Los Angeles and New Orleans), they shouldn't really need to make a fuel stop en route, it would seem to me that it would make more sense to refuel the locomotives during turnaround at the termini. If somehow I'm really off on their range, the other option would be to switch to refueled locomotives while they are sitting in San Antonio. It doesn't take that long, and they have plenty of time from the sound of it.
  9. It speaks to the power of the tobacco lobby that cigarettes, with all their well-documented high health risks, continue to be legal for recreational use when the FDA has banned so many other products for even therapeutic use that had much lower risks. Ephedra, for instance, I'm not saying it shouldn't have been banned, but there were an estimated 12 million people using it at one point, and it was implicated in 155 deaths over a 13 year period. The CDC says cigarettes kill 480,000 people a year. They estimate 34,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease linked to secondary exposure a year. I don't think anyone died because their parent or spouse took ephedra. Over a 30 year period, something like 30 women who took phenylpropanolamine either as a decongestant or in Dexatrim for weight loss suffered an intracranial hemmorage, and data indicated that 1 woman might have a stroke out of every 107,000 to 3.3 million women who used PPA (normal stroke incidence rate is 0.6 per 1 million), and it was yanked off the market. How many smokers have heart attacks or strokes every year? If tobacco is such a dangerous product (which it is) why not just take it off the market?
  10. I made a general statement so as not to call you out specifically, with the hope that a non confrontational appeal to decency and consideration for other disabled people not named Greg Abbott might appeal to your better angels. But yes, people who habitually fire off personal insults and derogatory comments usually do it because they have a lot of bruises; I’m trying to be compassionate about yours.
  11. I am no fan of Abbott by any means, but can we please maintain a standard in this forum that we don’t make derogatory comments about someone that target their disability (ie. calling Abbott “Governor Hotwheelz”)? Even when directed at one particular person, such comments demean all people with disabilities. @editor
  12. To recap, in my OP I complained about a healthy majority of the flight reservations I have made the last 5 months being changed by the airlines to less convenient itineraries, and couldn’t just be explained by flight or crew issues, many were random. I explained the difficulties this can cause travelers, especially business travelers on tight schedules. My account…let’s just say it was “called into question.” Two nights ago, it happened to me again, and the flight I was booted off of was still flying, was still available to book, someone traveling with me on the exact same itinerary and exact same fare class wasn’t booted but the airline website wouldn’t allow me to return to my itinerary. I called the airline, and after being on hold with them for longer than it took me to write all my posts in this thread, the agent I finally talked to was able to get me back on my original itinerary, but could provide no explanation of why my itinerary was changed in the first place, other than “it looks like it was done by the system.” That’s a reservation change by an airline that couldn’t be explained by crew or fleet shortages, couldn’t be explained at all, just “random”, and whatever question anyone might have had about the details of my previous flights’ itinerary changes, this well documented and undeniable instance of a random unjustified change by an airline coming so soon on the heels of my complaint about these kinds of changes cannot honestly be dismissed as an isolated incident. The fact that I could not correct it online and the long wait time I had to correct it over the phone illustrates the legitimate problem these frequent, often unnecessary changes present. A frequent business traveler should not be expected to have to spend 90 minutes on the phone to fix a reservation he made online almost every time he needs to travel. It’s common wisdom that when a person resorts to a torrent of childish insults, aspersions of character, and unsubstantiated accusations of lying, that person has lost the argument, it’s a tacit admission they don’t have a cogent argument to make. I believe it also violates the rules of this website, but I will leave that up to @editor
  13. So, other than insults, name calling, nitpicking typos, accusing me of making things up, mocking my credentials which I didn’t even bring up and he gleaned from my signature, Matty here doesn’t add anything to the conversation. He makes a big deal about my changed Helsinki itinerary not being in my original post, I guess he missed the part where I said it just happened to me last night, and I was presenting it as the most recent example of this happening. But moving on from people who can’t seem to interact respectfully, I’ll provide an update for any others reading this. The person I am traveling with had the exact same original itinerary as me, and hers was not changed. I did call United, and did get my itinerary changed back to my original one. But when I asked the agent why my itinerary was changed in the first place, she couldn’t give me a reasonable answer, just “it appears the system made that change.” It had nothing to do with the minimum connection time that had been posited by the other poster as a face-saving attempt. As far as the poster’s number 2 suggestion that this was a mistake, considering the agent couldn’t explain the change, it does seem to be a mistake, a RANDOM mistake, which supports the point of my OP, that lot of random inexplicable reservations are being made by airlines lately, despite the other poster being very insistent that these things are NOT random and were about crew or fleeting issues.
  14. My mistake, I should have known, even with a diesel-electric being extremely efficient and all that mass and Newton's 1st law once it gets going, 480 did seem awfully high to me. But still 3 miles a gallon with a 4,000 gallon capacity is 12,000 miles between refueling, and New Orleans to Los Angeles is only about 2,000 miles, or am I getting those figures wrong too?
  15. Wow, that's nuts, cspwal, both of those. The stop in San Antonio is like midnight to 2:45 on the schedule I've seen, so really, they wake up all the sleeping through passengers and make them get off? And then the gas stop just before that - a typical locomotive can hold about 4,000 gallons of diesel and gets 480 miles to the gallon, typically uses about 3 gallons a week, and you're telling me they can't wait to fuel it when they're turning it around in Los Angeles or Louisiana?
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