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Everything posted by cottonmather0

  1. I kind of share the paranoia that the power to manipulate customers' electricity usage is a scary one to give to the utility, but at the same time, if people start seeing just how much their electricity usage actually costs during high load periods, then it's a good thing, if only to spur the construction of newer and cheaper power sources like clean coal and nukes. Not a big deal in Texas, really, but I used to trade electricity in California and the NIMBY consumers out there need to be educated (the hard way) that demand cannot grow unrestricted while keeping supply constant and prices low. And FWIW - Centerpoint's income is (mostly) non-dependent on how much electricity you use. They don't necessarily benefit financially from more granular bills, although it certainly will help with the condition and maintenance of their grid system in high load circumstances.
  2. If someone were to get in there and be able to displace all of the residents and eliminate the apartment complexes, the land itself would seem to be pretty valuable given the location between Bellaire and the Galleria.
  3. Anyone have any advice on furniture shopping these days? It seems lately that no one wants to deal. The "sale price is the best price" yet stuff seems to always be on sale and thus I always feel like I'm not actually getting the best price if I pay whatever's on the sticker. It doesn't make sense to me that the furniture stores would put their best price on the sticker for two reasons - 1.) Some people will always pay the sticker price, whatever it is. So if you're not marking up some over your "best price" then you're missing out on extra revenue from these people that they'd be willing to pay. or 2.) People like me who aren't comfortable paying sticker, therefore I just walk away and you leave my business on the table, too. I know that my problem is mostly psychological - compared to some of the stuff we've seen at other stores, the furniture we liked today ay Star was definitely higher quality and probably priced competitively, but I just have this hangup that I'm getting taken advantage of if I pay the sticker price. But seriously, how can the sale price be the best price if Star Furniture has a "sale of the year" so often that I have the jingle memorized? Surely there is extra markup in there. FWIW, I've never known Mattress Mack to haggle, either, and at Ashley today the sales manager came out and said that 10% off his cheapo stuff was a "really good deal." For the same reason, I'm reluctant to shop at Macy's or Dillards for furniture because I feel silly trying negotiate in a stinking department store. Ergo, the sticker is a psychological barrier to me and I just don't even bother shopping there. Anyway, am I missing something here? Sorry for the rambling post.
  4. Bed or TV? Bed or TV? or maybe a beer first?

  5. That site used to be a creosote plant, I believe. Having just moved from the area, all new construction there is either going to be of this type or townhomes. The return to the builder is just too low if they waste potential building space on lawns that many people don't even want, but that's just normal urban economics. When Timbergrove itself was laid out 50 years ago it was just as suburban then as Sugar Land and Katy are now and the land was cheap. Now it's not. This particular one is probably one of the most visible, but there are 3-4 in the immediate area that are just like it: Timbergrove Court (Seamist @ 12th), Heritage Creek (down the block on 12th and even more crowded if you can believe it), and Timbergrove Terrace (Ella @ Grovewood), among others. I do think they'll all be rundown within the next 10-15 years
  6. Yeah, my first inclination is to agree with Niche. I think some of the promised functionality sounds promising, but the design and interface so far just feels... bloated. Good word for it. I surf a lot on my netbook and the netbook is fighting back this morning, I think because of all of the graphics. And cluttered, too. Lots of pictures and content but it's just kind of scattershot and hard to read, actually. I'm not sure how much of that is just being unfamiliar with it and how much is actual preference for the old style. Definitely going to keep an open mind, though.
  7. Yeah, I would pass on that invitation. Too high and too scary. You guys have fun. LOL
  8. 5 minutes every other day is just a tease as far as your lemon tree goes. You would be amazed just how much water comes from an average rain storm and generally we get 1-2 of those a week during a normal summer. I will generally run the sprinkler for an hour at a time 2-3 times a week over each section of the yard and that seems to do the trick for all of the foliage and grass. A few of my foundation shrubs are drying up because they're out of range of the sprinkler, but for the most part my yard is surviving.
  9. China is scary - everybody is corrupt and there's no rule of law to enforce building codes or safety laws or any kind of regulation, really. The government ultimately isn't accountable to the people, so why would they ever care about public safety? This kind of stuff happens all the time over there, just not as dramatically or visibly as this particular incident.
  10. I was down there this morning for the first time since Ike (my wife has vacation this week so we took the 2 year old to the beach) and it just feels weird. I couldn't figure it out until I realize that it was all of the leafless and/or dead trees everywhere. It's hot as heck and the trees are all dead and look like winter. Really eerie. We didn't explore too much, but at least around Seawall and Broadway and the Strand, things look fairly normal. The most distressing thing to me was the condition of the Flagship, but aside from that and a few unrepaired houses and boarded windows here and there, things were better than I thought they'd be. But the trees... just sad.
  11. I would give anything for one of those cold snaps right now... just for 24 hours, I promise.
  12. We're moving next month and I'm going to go ahead and bite the bullet and join a place for the first time since I quit my corporate job and lost access to the company gym. I need a place mostly for free weights and some machines, although I usually get my cardio exercise outside running or biking. I read on Yelp that the Lifetime Fitness on Hwy 6 is really nice but expensive. I've also read that the LA Fitness in River Park is also pretty good, but sometimes pretty crowded. Any other recommendations?
  13. Yeah, just about any citrus will do well, as will figs and (usually) pecans. Your banana tree will grow very large, but it will probably not produce any fruit as you need an absolutely perfect frost-free winter and we just don't get those here: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extensi...ana/banana.html
  14. Ahh, I missed that. Well, tell me if I'm reading the plan wrong, but it does look like there's still a basement, no? That's extremely unusual for southeast Texas.
  15. Is the "activity center" actually a basement?
  16. One app that I wish for is a free paypal virtual terminal (credit card) app. There is iSwipe, which costs $50 and is misleading because you still have to type the credit card into the app. I can do that for free through the web browser, so I have no need to pay for the app. HOWEVER - what would be really cool is if Apple would open up the dock connector (data port) for peripherals and let someone market an actual magnetic swiper. I would pay for that as soon as it went on sale.
  17. OK, that's cool. I have no idea what use such functionality has other than this little game we're playing here, but it's cool nonetheless.
  18. I'd love to share, but how did you do the screen caps?
  19. I made a post on Facebook about this and thought I would share here, too. My kid and I watch Wheel of Fortune every night and I'm increasingly of the mind that the wheel itself is rigged. Not tin foil hats producers hitting the "brake" button to make it stop on bankrupt all of a sudden rigged, but some kind of spring loaded only make approximately one full turn when spun rigged. Seriously, if the darn thing weighs TWO TONS, how come little tiny ladies and big strong guys all spin it by approximately the same distance each time and at about the same speed? It would seem to me that the darn thing doesn't spin freely - that no matter how fast it's spun by a contestant, it always comes back to a point on the wheel that's just a little bit more than one turn past where it started. In other words, if you're sitting on $500 and bankrupt is a couple of spots behind it, the chances of you landing on that bankrupt when it comes around again are better than even money, based on my rather feeble observations. Has anyone here actually been on the show?
  20. I have broken up with both Heidi Klum and Marisa Miller, both times because they weren't up to my usual standards of excellence and wore too much makeup. That, and Heidi started making eyes at Niche.
  21. I don't think there is anything intrinsically good or bad about the new design or the old design, I just don't see why the new one is any better, so why change it up? Seems kind of silly to me, but it's not going to stop me from reading the paper... LOL
  22. Did Chron.com just launch a sneaky redesign tonight? I'm not sure if I care for different shades of army green compared to the old orange and blue. EDIT: the mobile version is still orange, but the website is definitely some weird shade of green Starfleet logo.
  23. No, you probably won't meet him until you're in court and the judge has called your name. The first time you go to his office, the secretary basically processes you like a meat market herself. She'll tell you to be on the lookout for a new trial date notice in the mail, then you go to court on that day and just sit there as usual until the judge calls you up. Sprecher is a tall slightly overweight unkempt man with a beard and messy hair and he will introduce himself as you approach the bench. I wish I knew exactly how he does it, because he's obviously very good at it and you can tell by watching him from the gallery how hard he's working and lobbying the judge. I dot know if he's just trying to catch the cop out of the room or what, but he is very clearly working. On the other, like I said, it's a lot of time and effort and probably worth the couple hundred bucks to pay a lawyer, but it is darn FUN to play the game and see how frustrated they all eventually get when you make them actually do their jobs and not just play shakedown artist. I probably didn't stop smiling for two weeks after the first time I got off. It was awesome.
  24. Two responses: First, I would second David Sprecher, too. I'm not sure how it works, but for garden variety speeding tickets he makes them go away for a fee that is equal to the fine. You just sit and sit in court and then when they call your name you go up and meet him for the first time and he tells you that you're now free to go home. Seriously. Second, that said, if you have a LOT of time in your schedule, it's very easy to go to Muni Court and just do it yourself and get out of these things - I've done it twice - but you have to be willing to go down there and spend 4-5 whole DAYS over 3-5 MONTHS just sitting in court and, again, waiting for it all to play out. Basically you request a jury trial and then keep demanding to the judge and the prosecutor (who is usually a law school flunky and probably still a worse lawyer than you) all kinds of discovery (radar gun maintenance, cop's training on radar guns, cop's training on pacing, road safety studies, speed limit maps, location of speed signs, cops drug records, cop car maintenance records, speedometer tests on the cop car, etc etc) and procedure and basically make a pain of yourself. At first they will throw you a few easy pieces of evidence and try to pressure you to have the trial ASAP, then if you keep asking for all of your other evidence they'll take their time and keep trying to wait you out for a few days and hope you run out of patience and time, but eventually they'll decide you're serious and out of the blue one day the judge will call you up and send you home rather than go through all the extra effort of actually doing their jobs. Why? Because it really is a racket. Nothing more than a fundraising machine for the city and they want to raise as much money as possible as efficiently as possible. The whole system is designed for you to show up and plead guilty and pay and when you fight it - really fight it - you make the system inefficient and eventually the cost of the prosecution outweighs the revenue of your fine. So they move on to the next guy, who's about even money to not speak English and is scared that if he doesn't pay up he'll get in worse trouble. All the better for the City to raise money efficiently. I used to have a really flexible job schedule, so I could do this, but unless you really can spend all day sitting down there on multiple occasions, they really will just try and wait you out. That said, I only think freeway tickets are the ones that are a racket. Speeding on surface streets and in residential neighborhoods, where the likelihood of an accident and injury is much higher, really pisses me off and I'm glad that the city enforces the speed limit there. Anyway, good luck.
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