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Everything posted by ToryGattis

  1. Well, it's a big city, but the four places I've had it done are inside the airports, George R. Brown Convention Center, Galleria Westin (none of those are very convenient) and here in Bellaire: Bellaire Car Wash & Auto Salon -more info ยป5803 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, TX(713) 839-9200
  2. Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and list a bunch more, because it hurts my head to try and pick the top five. Chuy's Tex-Mex Goode Co BBQ Berryhill's original fish tacos Mission Burritos Grand Lux Lupe Tortillas beef fajitas Original Ninfa's on Navigation If you like sushi, Kata Robota or Azuma RC's Pizza (Kingwood; see http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/hoffman/7302870.html) Any Cordua family restaurant (Artista, Americas (esp. Sunday brunch), Churrascos, Amazon (esp. the burger)) Candellari's pizza
  3. I think it's pretty cool. I assume you've considered if straight shaft elevators could work all the way to the top in all 3 parts? Based on the side view, I christen it "The Banana" ;-)
  4. Nice try, but I don't think there's any chance they'll go for that loophole. They want the 'building' to have a single name.
  5. For what it's worth, Consumer Reports did a reader survey ranking the national burger chains, and In-and-Out (which I've never had) tied Five Guys for #1. Five Guys is already here, and I will say it is a very good burger. Whataburger was not too far behind: http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticles/428/best-burgers/ Zagat says Five Guys beats In-and-Out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/five-guys-best-burger-zagat-fast-food-survey-2010_n_684302.html
  6. So, summarizing what I'm hearing, the trucking cost is insignificant in the bigger scheme of things (and weight limits might be an issue anyway), and even if it were, the L-shape creates complexities at the work site and unacceptable weakness compared to the fully-formed box shape (although I haven't heard any details on that or if that could be compensated for by good design). I didn't know the cost of the concrete vs. trucking. I kinda thought the concrete was a lot cheaper and the truck ride more expensive. It doesn't sound like that's the case in urban areas, although in more remote areas with longer trucking distances it could be more of a problem.
  7. Thanks. All good points. I also hadn't considered the leaking that might occur, although that might be fixable with some heavy duty caulking. I was assuming the L-shapes would have grooves+tabs that would make them very easy to line up and assemble. I was also assuming they would be manufactured and transported to keep those cost savings.
  8. I'm not a civil engineer, but have a question for one if any of you are on this board. Please forgive me if I'm using incorrect terminology. I was just driving and saw a flatbed 18-wheel truck with two giant square concrete culvert sections in the back. You know, essentially giant square concrete pipes - maybe 6-8' on a side? It seemed tremendously wasteful to me that a truck can only carry 2-3 of these when it must take dozens or hundreds to build a drainage line of any length. So here's my question to civil engineers: do you think it might be possible to design a similar system where each box was cut into two L-shaped sections along two corner edges? The L-shape would stack/nest much more space-efficiently on an 18-wheeler truck bed. The the L's could be put together into a box on-site. Now I realize that creates a weakness along those cut edges vs. a solid box, but here's my solution: when nesting them in the ground, alternate the cut corner edges from section to section. I wish there was an easier way to draw or describe this. Imagine it this way. If you were standing at one end of the pipe as they were assembling it, the first section would be an L with another (L rotated 180 degrees) on top of it. That creates a weakness on the top-left and bottom-right corners. The next section moving forward would put an (L rotated 90 degrees) with another (L rotated 270 degrees). That one has a weakness in the top-right and bottom-left corners, but it's strong in the top-left and bottom-right corners, and the nesting with the first section helps strengthen that section and hold it together. Each nested section holds the section before it and after it together. Any thoughts? Is this feasible? What would be required?
  9. Well, you can always use My Yahoo, but I got so frustrated with it (it will only show the last 10 items in any feed) that I switched to Google Reader, which takes a little getting used to but is very powerful. Is your opposition because of the Google-is-dangerously-omniscient variety, or is there something else you don't like about it?
  10. Sigh, I wish I could remember where I saw the analysis on this. But it basically noted that if you get two busy at-grade rail lines intersecting with 3-6min headways (esp. with the longer trains), you will get near gridlock in parts of downtown during the rush hours unless an amazing ballet of light timing and trains is pulled off (which I deeply doubt). I've had friends live in the museum district complain of problems getting across the Main St line where trains can keep coming and overriding your green light cycles while you wait at the red ones. Sometimes multiple cycles to get across. And that's just a single line. The Uptown line will be even more problematic...
  11. I think it's a waste to try and attract that demographic, like marketing 4,000sq.ft. far suburban McMansions to young singles - it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not saying forbid them (obviously), but they're not the right demographic to target. I was saying the theater expansion was a good win (the Hobby Center), not that it needed to be expanded more. Sorry for the confusion. The retail can't come first. In fact, it's last. First make downtown a nightlife destination, then people will want to live there, *then* retail will come in to support them. That said, ground floor retail storefronts should be encouraged in buildings. They may start out as clubs or restaurants, but over time real retail will move in if the residents do.
  12. I just submitted my comments but forgot to copy and paste them here before the disappeared. Paraphrasing: Good wins: - new and redeveloped parks (esp. Discovery Green) - Pavilions (assuming it can stay above water financially) - cheap eco-shuttles - stadiums and convention center expansion + hotel - residential for young professionals - expanding theater district Mistakes: - driving out nightlife to Washington. DT had plenty of parking, street capacity, and few residents to upset with noise. It was perfect. Also helped support restaurants. - trying to attract families (a goal I once saw listed for the downtown TIRZ) - thinking high-rise residential wants to build downtown with blocked views (One Park Place being the exception because of unblocked views) - building crossing surface-street rail lines will be a disaster for mobility and drive out jobs and residents Overall: focus on jobs and being a destination: theaters, restaurants, sports, nightlife. Residents are secondary. Seriously rethink the crossing rail line unless they want downtown to have the same bad mobility reputation as Uptown.
  13. Hadn't heard that. Is that a hypothetical, or do you have a link? I think this closing actually reflects the success of downtown. That space is worth a whole lot more now filled with restaurants/bars - it's too valuable for movie screens. Combine that with the rise of Netflix, Blu-ray, and HD TVs at home - which are just fine for indie movies - and this was inevitable. What would be a nice outcome, if possible, would be to shrink the Angelika down to a handful of screens (3 or 4? maybe in the less valuable space deep inside the building?) and convert the rest of the space to the more valuable restaurants/clubs. Then we'd still have the theater along with the new stuff.
  14. Thanks for the kind words. And I've always thought Fort Worth is the overlooked gem of the Texas Triangle: big city amenities without as many of the big city problems and hassles. Fort Worth and Houston vs. Dallas: The enemy of my enemy is my friend? Yet somehow I think Fort Worth will still be backing the Cowboys over the Texans this weekend...
  15. OK, so digging into the details, they don't offer cable channels in Houston, and even if they did, they're in standard definition only (since they have to stream over the internet). So you end up paying for local channels that are available for free anyway over the air. I guess it might be worth it if you really like their dvr technology.
  16. The fact that the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is one of the entities behind the list sorta discredits the whole thing. I'm sure the criteria and weightings were chosen so Chicago would place highly, especially ahead of the usual "#2 city" in the US, LA. Whatever insecurities Houston has about its position among American cities, Chicago has the same insecurity with its position among global cities. Here is an interesting essay on Chicago as an economically diverse but weaker global city.
  17. Thanks for the heads up. Just looked at their web site, and it looks pretty compelling. I noticed the lack of ESPN though, which means you would miss some NFL games, inc. a few Texans games.
  18. As cool as it would be to have A380 service at IAH, there are probably more connecting options with 2x daily 777 flights connecting to two different flights banks in Dubai. And they're also probably using their A380s on more slot-constrained routes like London, Tokyo, and NYC. But once they have more A380s, they might switch the service here.
  19. In Denver, only United and Frontier can connect passengers to the smaller Rocky Mountain destinations, including the ski resorts. SWA only connects to the big cities further west. So I'm guessing Frontier wants to differentiate itself from United/Continental by leaving from Hobby, which is certainly more attractive to south Houston/Ft.Bend/Brazoria/Clear Lake/Galveston. Frontier route map: http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/plan-book/routes-timetables/route-map.do SWA route map: http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/routemap_dyn.html?src=et042004
  20. UA has pretty limited service to Aus-NZ, and offers limited connections out of LAX and SFO. Going through AKL and IAH, people can connect from pretty much all of the cities in Aus-NZ to the entire eastern US, upper Latin America, and even Europe. It's all about the connections. Because of Qantas' limited connections on OneWorld partner AA out of LAX, it's rumored they're also considering a Sydney-DFW run to do the same thing. This may be a preemptive move by CO-ANZ to seize that market first and dissuade them from doing it.
  21. I can't imagine A&M and UT in different conferences and not playing each other every year!?
  22. I think earlier is better to avoid the crowds (which can detract a bit). Weekdays are better than weekends. Pittsburgh nearby is worth a day or two to explore. I liked the local Heinz history museum, Andy Warhol museum, ride at least one of the inclines, and the Grand Concourse Station Square Sunday Brunch with its amazing building. (http://pittsburgh.about.com/cs/restaurants/a/sunday_brunch.htm) http://www.frommers.com/destinations/pittsburgh/2518010029.html other tips http://www.yelp.com/biz/fallingwater-mill-run
  23. To clarify, I'm hoping the WSJ reporting is right: UA wants to merge with US Air to create cost synergies (with HQ in Chicago), and just deepen the partnership with Continental, keeping it separate with the HQ here. That would be best. It's also best for IAH, I think, because CO will use new planes to create new routes from Newark and IAH. If they merge, IAH service to Europe and Asia will stagnate, as CO-UA will route all those people through the east or west coast hubs. We might lose domestic service too as more traffic is routed through Denver or Chicago. We will still be a strong Latin America hub, but I don't think it will grow anymore than it already has with the Star Alliance partnership.
  24. I'm really hoping this doesn't happen. But if it does, the Houston HQ would be at risk. On the plus side, clearly you want the CO management and culture to dominate, and that argues for Houston. But there's also value in being the "hometown" airline of Chicago vs. AA. And Chicago has recognized the risk for years, and has locked both the UA HQ and ops center into sweet leases and incentives that all blow up if they go away. I heard from an insider that the last set of UA-CO merger discussions had the HQ in Chicago. Sigh. I think the best we might hope for is a "figurehead" HQ in Chicago of top execs and the ops WSJ on CO-UA: WSJ on CO-UA: http://www.emailthis.clickability.co...kMap=viewThis&etMailToID=670344333 "UAL Corp. appears to be angling to have it all in renewed airline merger discussions: It wants to cut a deal to combine with US Airways Group Inc. while retaining its lucrative marketing alliances with rival Continental Airlines Inc." ... "The combined cost and revenue synergies of a US Airways merger offer more than a Continental-United merger, said another person familiar with the situation, because two-thirds of the revenue benefits already are captured by the United-Continental alliance. And for shareholders of UAL and US Airways, the gains from revenue and cost-savings would be spread over a smaller combined equity base, providing a larger return, knowledgeable people said." Great news! This points out what I've been wondering all along: everybody talks about the importance of cost cuts from consolidation, but then point out that CO-UA have very little overlap, i.e. little to cut. Whereas there is plenty to cut in UA-US. And having 3 pilot groups fighting in UA-US could be genius - because game theory says they have a lot more incentive to cooperate and avoid having 2 other groups pile up on one. Deadlock is a lot harder with 3 players than 2. Another point: people say CO will be stuck as a "weak #4", but Alaska gets by just fine smaller than others, and I think their EWR position will always have high value, regardless of what the Big 3 do.
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