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Specwriter last won the day on February 25 2013

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About Specwriter

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  1. I met Doug Miller through a mutual acquaintance and encountered him again at a TUTS production at Miller Theater (no connection I assume) sometime later. I found him to be friendly, intelligent and very witty. I had no idea he was the son of Ray Miller but learning that does not surprise me. Doug's reports were always professional, polished, and well prepared. I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree. Bob Phillips does a creditable job with "Texas Country Reporter" but I don't believe anyone will ever best Ray Miller and "The Eyes of Texas." I can watch a 40-year-old re-run of that show and still be taken away to the places he described.
  2. Specwriter

    Old Blueprints, do they still exist?

    Again, good luck, Rusty. It seems you are on the right path. Stayton Nunn and Milton McGinty were two well known architects in this city during the last century. Hopefully, some of their drawings have been preserved in the HMRC including those of this building. Perhaps they also did the mid-1950s remodel. That would not be unusual given the short time between the original construction and the remodel.
  3. Specwriter

    The Regalia at the Park: 100 Crawford

    If from an underground storage tank they are looking at some costly soil remediation. I hope contingency funds were allocated.
  4. Blue Dogs, I didn't want to make you more sad. We do feel the loss but, at the same time, I will always remember that Doug Johnson made something as mundane as the weather forecast fun to watch. mkultra, I can think of some Houston natives who are local affiliates today and I appreciate their perspective though they are all younger than I. Those who come immediately to mind are David Paul, Mia Gradney, Melanie Lawson, and Katherine Whaley. I know I am overlooking more than a few. BTW, if my arithmetic is any good David Paul is only about eight years my junior. 😊 Ah yes, Larry Rasco - our local version of Walter Cronkite who, while not actually a Houston native, spent his formative years in our city.
  5. Doug Johnson seemed to be a very affable person. He made watching the weather fun. I grew up watching Sid Lasher then Doug Johnson. I like to be around, or at least observe, people who appear to be enjoying what they do. Rest in peace, Doug. You brought many smiles to the residents of this area.
  6. Specwriter

    Old Blueprints, do they still exist?

    Rusty, I'm assuming you are referring to the Russell Ivey automobile dealership from another thread. If you can find who the architect was there might be drawings on file in the Houston Metropolitan Research Center of the Houston Public Library which is in the Julia Ideson Building adjacent to the main library. I was able to find drawings for an automobile dealership on Main Street that is now the Ensemble Theater back when the structure was first altered to become the Ensemble. IIRC the building was originally completed soon after the second World War and was a Mercury dealership but I'm not certain. Memories tend to fade also after 25+ years. Most significant buildings or those designed by significant architects could have original prints located in the HMRC. Understand that these are not available for "check out" and some may only be viewed in archived form such as microfiche. You used the term "blueprints" which is exactly what most drawings that were used to construct buildings of that era were. Originals may have been ink on vellum (or even ink on linen in earlier times) but the copies were printed on a relatively light-weight paper using a diazo process. Blueprints, unfortunately, are not very stable and tend to fade or even disintegrate if not stored properly. I wish you good luck in your endeavor. It sounds like a very interesting project.
  7. Specwriter

    The Moody Park Riots of May 1978

    I remember the TV coverage. It surprised me that a reporter for KPRC (Channel 2), Jack Cato, was stabbed while reporting on the riot. He survived but the idea that being in the midst of such a thing was dangerous, whether one was "involved" or a by-stander, really came home to me that night.
  8. Specwriter

    1300 Capitol Street---New HSPVA campus

    Thanks for posting the pictures bobruss and UtterlyUrban. About the new building all I can say is "WOW!" I hope the students, faculty, and staff enjoy it for many years to come.
  9. It might be Solvay on levels 8 & 9 or it might be Cannon Design on level 12 (or both).
  10. Specwriter

    Big Butt-Ugly Building at 1500 OST

    Thanks for that, isuredid. Alicia was one of the few Houston events I missed. I went off to college in 1979 and returned to Houston in 1987. As catastrophic as this was for Shell it was probably a back page item considering all the other destruction that was caused by Alicia. Another lesson harshly learned.
  11. Specwriter

    Big Butt-Ugly Building at 1500 OST

    That would explain the very serious cooling apparatus located to the left of the building in the aerial photo. Big rooms full of servers, etc. generate considerable heat which is bad for the equipment. Most have dedicated cooling systems apart from the rest of the building. I can imagine those mainframes from 45+ years ago created even more heat than modern equipment. I had a secretary back in the early 1990's who would apply nail polish to her finger nails then speed the drying by holding her fingers near the fan exhaust on her desktop computer. She did other unusual but practical things like placing her car keys in the break room refrigerator on top of the container with her lunch leftovers so she would not forget to take them home.
  12. Specwriter

    Rise of Residential Towers

    A direct trip from any one floor to the ground level would not take long at all even in a 40 story building but if the elevator had to make several stops along the way the time would increase dramatically. This is most likely in an office building at the start or end of the work day or during lunch time. It is probably not an issue in a residential tower since the coming-and-going would be more spread out. Residents "trickle" in or out of their apartments over an extended period of time whereas office workers have a generally shorter arrival and departure window. Consider the similarity of a residential parking garage versus an office parking garage to the elevators in those buildings. One other thing, the super fast elevators are usually intended for those that make the jump directly from the ground floor to a much higher floor like the 40th. Their higher speed capability would be wasted on an elevator that starts on the ground floor and may make stops on the first 20 floors for example. I am in awe of our elevator consultants who can figure out how many cars are needed for a certain size building and how they should be deployed within the building. Of course, now there are now algorithms to help with the programming. My current office building has 48 floors and three banks of five elevators each. Each bank of five serves a set group of floors.
  13. Specwriter

    Rise of Residential Towers

    Not really. That distance is about 500 feet and 500 ft./min. was the norm for that type of elevator in that building at that time. The building opened in 1983. Things have improved though with elevator speed. Currently the Schindler 7000 high-rise has a range from 500 to 1600 feet per minute. Believe me (I'm an architect and I've been in a lot of elevators) you will certainly get a sensation of acceleration and speed going from zero to 1600 feet per minute.
  14. Specwriter

    Rise of Residential Towers

    Just the inconvenience of a 40 floor elevator ride (down and back up) to take the dog out to pee at night might squelch my desire to live in a high-rise. I once worked on the 37th floor of a building. The elevator trip from the ground floor to the 37th took 65 seconds if there were no stops. That doesn't sound like much but include maybe 6-8 stops per trip and consider how much time that might involve over a week. I wouldn't be too worried about getting out of a burning high-rise (modern codes in the US ensure the egress routes are very safe) except that my knees would make descending 39 flights of stairs a slow and painful event.
  15. Palace Lanes and now Magic Island. Life is becoming great again. Really, people need something to do be sides being mesmerized (pardon the pun) by their I-pads. My late uncle was a self-made success and former country boy from Lee County in central Texas. One of his great pleasures as an adult was an evening at Magic Island.