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Posts posted by sarahiki

  1. The house we've just moved into has a lot of overgrown landscaping, including an indeterminate number of bougainvillea bushes. One is blooming; the others just lurk, waiting to attack you with their horrible thorns. We keep cutting and cutting and they grow back overnight. Like evil alien spawn.

    The funny thing is, I always wanted to have bougainvillea in my garden because I thought they were so pretty. Little did I know how evil they actually are!

  2. Interesting. Not sure it fits the neighborhood but then again it's been a long time since I lived in Meyerland. Either way I believe it's a little to pricey for the neighborhood. 

    A quick look at har.com for 77096 suggests that it's no longer too pricey for the neighborhood... the McMansions have arrived, some at over a million bucks.

    I don't like everything about this house... the scale, to me, is too large for modern authenticity, and I really don't like the bathrooms. But it's still nice to see new construction that doesn't have that stucco, spanish-tile roof look. I hope that as Meyerland continues to change, it also continues to be a place of architectural interest.

    • Like 1
  3. I have the Starbucks black card. Because of this Starbucks is constantly sending me 10% off beverage coupons to share with my family and friends.

    Well, all of my family members are dead or incapacitated, and none of my friends around here drink Starbucks. So I'll send them to the first HAIFer who responds here and PMs me their mailing address.

    There are four coupons for 10% off your total order which expire July 31, 2009.

    There are three coupons for 10% off your total order which expire December 31, 2009.

    I just hate to let these go to waste, and since I already have the black card they don't do me any good.

    First posted, first served!

    I'm interested! I'll PM my address.

  4. There's probably nobody I'd rather see a street named for than Gandhi. However, I think it would be confusing and disruptive to have part of a major artery have a different name. Nonetheless, it would be a pretty nice way to acknowledge the south Asian community in that area.

    I will not be surprised if they are able to pull this off. The local Indian community can be very persistent, as I observed regarding something similar a few years ago. They are also pretty well-connected at City Hall and pretty savvy about getting stuff done.

  5. Spot on. Labor is mobile.

    Also, Texas tends to absorb less-educated labor because our tax and labor laws do not put industrial businesses in as severe a global competitive disadvantage as they would be in other states. That does not mean that our economy is endangered or threatened, it means that our economy is specialized. And our demographics and social issues reflect that in comparisons of averages among various states. But averages for single variables do not effectively convey individuals' experiences or quality of life as compared to their alternatives. Perhaps Michigan spends twice as much per student, has a much lower cost of living because housing is so inexpensive (because no one wants to live there), averages higher wages because it is a union state, and has numerous small business incentives...but its tax rates are too high and there isn't any work. Texas clearly has the better future, but that is not necessarily reflected in cherry-picked data.

    Another issue is that the long border with Mexico is so saturated with first- and second-generation school-age children raised from an early age in an effectively monocultural society and that there are linguistic and cultural barriers that hold back the general population of students as well as special populations (like I was when I was growing up there). It's a sensitive issue, and school districts in these regions have made laudable efforts to overcome the barriers, but the barriers still exist and there really is no effective solution that will allow that population to excel in a way that can be objectively compared to the way that students from places like The Woodlands or Cypress. If you take the border counties out of the mix, Texas probably moves up quite a bit in the rankings as they're calculated...but there wouldn't be any difference to the lifestyle of the average Texan in a major metropolitan area.

    I think this is a very ignorant statement. Labor may be mobile, but uneducated or poorly educated people generally are not. They are not going anywhere. How healthy can a state be if it is saddled with undereducated, underemployed people, who as a result of those factors are also unhealthy and under- or uninsured. People can take the bootstraps position all they want, but if we're not providing children with a quality education, there's only so far they can pull themselves up.

    • Like 3
  6. This is a great relief, after talk that Cynthia Dunbar, who doesn't believe in public education (since it undermines the authority of parents and God), was also being considered.

    Edited to RETRACT my relief, after reading this, about Gail Lowe:


    • Like 1
  7. Any other afficionados of really small, inexpensive cars? I'm all about a 5 door with great gas mileage, currently driving a Scion. I'm getting about 32 in the city and can't justify a $25K new car hybrid for a bump in mileage. But, My BF saw a new Kia Soul up close and was fairly impressed. I also noticed the new Suzuki AWD compact/crossover, but I'm guessing the mileage is crap.

    I love that Kia ad with the gerbils.

    Just saw this... I'm with you. I drive a Mazda Protege and love it. If I were buying a new car I'd get the Mazda 5 (microvan), since it would have room for a friend or two of the two rugrats already occupying the backseat. We were just talking last night about what car we would get if we won a million bucks. We agreed we'd still get the Mazda. Or maybe go wild and get a little Volvo 5-door. We are wild, wild, wild people.

  8. I like the "new" tab so much that I un-bookmarked HAIF-NOW and I'm using the new tab instead. Nice feature, IMO.

    Mildly curious about the Facebook link, but I think I'm more interested in preserving my anonymity. Don't want the paparazzi all over me.

  9. As I mentioned before hopefully there will be an IP Board skin option to go back to the old forum style or continue to use the new updated style.

    http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haifnow.php This link is great yet it appears to only show the last 12 hours of new posts. If this could have a drop down of say last 24, 48, 72, last week etc it would make finding recent posts much easier.

    As an example, I am a member in another forum and I only need to click one link or bookmark and I can see all 50-200 posts on one page that were made in the last 24 hours whether I have been to that post or not. Even a thread that had 7 posts to it I will see all 7 of the new posts with a 6 line synopsis of that post to let me know if the post is even worth checking out.

    I like the new header graphics though I think it is taking way too much of the above the fold space. To me it just seems a bit more difficult to navigate around the forum than the old one. Keep the graphics, new headers, buttons, web 2.0 stuff but at least have an option to choose between new and old style navigation/preferences.

    Sometimes I upgrade programs automatically when "new functions" are released. What I have learned is that yes the new upgrades seem to add a bit but in many cases I lost functions that I had come to depend on.

    Just my 2 cents for what it's worth.

    This is what I have bookmarked. I check there, see what's new. I've never used the "new posts" or "new content" option. Haifnow is easy, and graphic-free, for those who don't like the new graphics.

  10. I didn't see this article discussed elsewhere on HAIF:


    Houston neighborhoods are on the minds of city officials, neighborhood leaders and others as the city considers the first major revisions to its development code in a decade. The proposed amendments were prompted in part by indications that pressure for dense new development is spreading to the area between Loop 610 and Beltway 8.

    Typically for Chron reporting, the details are left vague. I couldn't figure out what was actually being proposed.

  11. One must always rigorously question the theory and the evidence. True scientists distrust their own findings.

    Rigor is fine. That's what peer review is for. But ignorant, blind distrust of proven science does not impress me.

  12. But doesn't he ask legitimate scientific questions, not necessarily related to creationism? If evolution is a gradual change process... how can some evolutionary tracks be vertical in nature, as he claims? Why are there "spontaneous" fossil records that cannot be traced back to other records, as he claims? If we indeed did evolve from monkeys... then why are there still monkeys? (said unknown stand-up comedian). It would be interesting to hear the scientific rebuttal to his arguments vs. just dismissing him as a religious crazy person that believes in nothing but creationism.

    There are plenty of scientific "rebuttals" available. Here's one, found by a simple google search:


    The reason there are still monkeys is that they are different, now, too. There was a common ancestor far in the past, from which various lines emerged, including human, and great apes.

    I think it's too bad that people distrust science so much. People refuse to believe in evolution by natural selection, yet don't stop to wonder why, if scientists are so stupid, that we've still been able to put people in space, build flat-screen t.v.s , and develop nano-science. But what do those yo-yos know, after all. I'd rather believe an ignorant politician.

  13. Fun project! Extend your concrete patio so it stretches across the back of the house. Maybe stamped concrete to look nicer? Makes for a great play area for the kiddo. You might not need to cover it if you're facing north; I assume the house shades the back yard, in part? You can think of it like two "rooms," where your living room would open on to one part, with a table and chairs, and the kidstuff: toys, sandbox, trucks, etc., but your bedroom would open out to a section of patio with a couple of padded chairs and a little table... romantic lighting... glass of wine...

    Put your money into the patio for now, and maybe line the yard with some ligustrum. They thrive on neglect and grow quite large, and will give your yard a cozy, landscaped feeling with very little effort. Putting them all around the edge will cost a little but they are seriously reliable. Prune them twice a year, maybe. We didn't even have a sprinkler system or anything and ours grew nicely.

    Third priority is probably a tree or two.

    Fourth priority, down the road, start putting in some flower or vegetable beds. Fun for you and the offspring to work on.

  14. There is limited electrical service to Westbury Square. I was over there this afternoon and could only find 1 apartment unit that had a good electrical meter. It is probably some friend of Antonelli's or something like that. The rest of the square except the theatre group and the school house has no electricity unless they have hidden the meters.

    It is interesting that you mention crime around the shopping center. I spoke with 2 HPD officers this evening and they told me that the shopping center has very little crime. Not sure where anyone gets information to the contrary. Westbury as a subdivision has very little crime. And I do not appreciate anyone spreading talk that there is a crime problem. I have lived here since 1994 and have monitored the crime reports periodically and there is not a crime problem in Westbury. Take a look at the HPD stats versus areas like Spring Branch or Montrose or Midtown or look at Bellaire's crime stats. It is unfair to paint Westbury in the same brushstroke as places like Sharpstown or Fondren Southwest or Mission Bend or the east end.

    The auto repair place that is there now is an independent and very nice guys. Much nicer and I feel very honest vs Angels (Burdine/Chimney Rock). You are correct we DO NOT need 2 check cashing places in the shopping center. But right now these are the cards we are dealt. I think these type of places are simply a cancer that has infested all areas of town including Kingwood, Clear Lake, areas of Memorial, and the Heights. The sooner Congress passes legislation regulating them the sooner we get rid of them. My understanding is that Weingarten still owns the shopping center through one of their off-shoot companies. A commercial real estate friend tells me they have several branches that they lease their "lower tier" shopping centers via. I may be wrong, but that is based on information from several real estate folks.

    Now I know for a fact that the HEB where 99cent only is now was not closed due to crime. A very close friend of mine is in a very high level management position at HEB's corporate office in San Antonio and the reason the store was closed is 2 fold. 1. They had planned to open a new store at W. Fuqua and Beltway 8 within 1 year of closing the W. Bellfort store. This plan was scuttled because Chimney Rock would not be put through, being replaced by Ft Bend Tollway. HEB's plans were to have a HEB Plus concept there and since the CIty of Houston had planned to run CR through they would have access to Westbury & Meyerland residents. They would then close down the Chimney Rock/S. Braeswood store. Secondly, the W. Bellfort store was also closed due to Weingarten's greed. They wanted to raise the rent significantly on HEB so HEB chose to close the store when their lease expired. Many in Westbury knew of the stores closing months before it closed, not days. Another contributing factor to the closure was HEB's decision to end the Pantry concept in Houston. This W. Bellfort store was smaller than the S. Braeswood store and could not be easily converted into a "regular" small footprint HEB. (Just an FYI, it appears the HEB in Bellaire will be closed when the HEB on Buffalo Speedway is opened)

    As for demoing the shopping center and letting it grow over. The civic club would not let that happen. There is enough political clout these days with Mayor White and Councilperson Clutterbuck that it simply would not be allowed to happen. I think Anne is gathering enough political steam to be like Martha Wong when she did a lot to update parts of Fondren SW before leaving office.

    The plans for the centerette are communuted due to Pizza Hut and Auto Zone. The entire block bounded by Cedarhurst/Moonlight/W. Bellfort/Chimney Rock will be demolished EXCEPT Pizza Hut and Auto Zone. There will also be a 're-engineering' of the NE quadrant of the intersection to smooth out traffic turning from W. Bellfort (westbound) to Chimney Rock (northbound). My understanding is that CVS will build a new standalone store on the parcel and there will be a shopping area with 2-3 stories of residential units above that. I'm trying to get someone to take the old Centerette sign and repair it and relight it with the clock once the new center is opened. Time will tell.

    Once we get past the economic problems there are some other projects that are very exciting planned for the area including covering the drainage ditch running in the middle of Chimney Rock. And I believe the COH is looking at the storage tank at Kinglet and Chimney Rock to "rightsize" that facility. I'd love for them to build a nice water tower like at Bellaire Blvd and S. Gessner and let Westbury put its logo on the tower.

    This is all very good news, Dr. Food. Thanks for the updates. Westbury is such an enormous, solid residential area that is can clearly support new retail. CVS, HEB, these would all be terrific additions to the neighborhood. It would be great to see some more mom & pop-type local establishments open, too, though I guess that's unlikely these days.

  15. From TREC:

    Q: I am the listing broker. An attorney has presented an offer from a buyer that the attorney is representing and wants me to share my commission. Can I do this?

    A: No. Section 1101.651(a) and Section 1101.652(B)(11) of the License Act prohibit a licensed broker from sharing a commission with anyone who was acting in the capacity of a broker but was not licensed as a broker. In cases such as this, the listing broker still needs to present the offer to the seller. The listing broker should inform the seller that the broker is prohibited from sharing the commission with the attorney and that the attorney and the seller need to work something out between themselves regarding any commission to be paid to the attorney. The listing broker can agree to reduce the commission if requested by the seller without violating the prohibition on splitting.

    So my next question, if the builder won't lower his price, what are creative but legal ways around this? Or maybe just deal with an agent who ACTUALLY conveys the offer to the builder?

    Try negotiating for free upgrades rather than money off the asking price. Or an allowance for window treatments, or for landscaping (if there is land to scape). This won't show up on their comps.

  16. I totally agree with OP... We would get a call from Centralized Showing as the doorbell was ringing, or we would clear the kids out of the house for two hours at dinnertime to accommodate a realtor who was a no-show. And I'd say at least 50% of the time no feedback at all was left.

    But this is like complaining that drivers are rude. You can complain, and you'd be right, but people just are what they are.

  17. Freeway design is all about historical context. They'd never do it this way today, but at the time that that interchange was built, I-45 inside the loop fed the Gulf Freeway and SH 225. I-610 came into existence later and was considered something of an afterthought.

    Even then, for a long time, it was considered unnecessary to provide those two ramps because the angle of I-45 relative to 610 is so acute. If you were headed in one of those rampless directions, you'd almost end up doubling back on yourself if there were a ramp for you to take. It is better to take Woodridge, Wayside, or even MLK/Spur 5, depending on your destination. I agree, though, that it is confusing.

    Hm, I will check out those other routes you mentioned. This is going to be my regular commute, so I've got to figure something out.

  18. Can someone explain to me why I can't get from 610 south (heading east) to 45 north, or the reverse (45 south to 610 south loop heading west) without going through three traffic lights? Is there seriously no direct ramp here, or have I just missed something?

    Plus, when I tried to follow the signs from the south loop to 45 north I actually got lost. The signs just end, and you're out there on feeder roads near Telephone Rd, with no clear way to get to 45 north.

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