Archive for November, 2005

New Houston Chronicle and Theater District sites

Don’t know if you’ve noticed the new and improved interfaces of two pretty useful Houston sites:

The Houston Chronicle – Still not quite used to the orange homepage, but I’m liking the new look. I kind of wish that they had more news briefs on that front page, as I’m lazy and don’t always like digging into a site for the info I want.

The Houston Theater District – Beyond the velvet-y gorgeousness of the site in general, I really love the downtown parking map and the club/restaurant/theater map. For someone who gets lost constantly downtown like me, this is a really useful tool!

What are your favorite Houston sites?

Foiley’s – your alternative department store


Just in time to buy that avant garde gift you’ve been searching for – Foiley’s, Aurora Picture Show’s alternative online department store is open!

Browse through their interesting selection of music, DVDs and books – you’re bound to find something to buy for that friend who doesn’t want you to buy anything (like Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping items, how ironic) and many other signed, numbered and neat donated items.

All proceeds benefit the visceral joy that is Aurora.

“Spider-Man” Arrested in Houston

spiderman200.jpgAlain Robert is a French daredevil who makes his living (and his news) by climbing tall buildings. While he isn’t faster than a speeding bullet (in fact, on-lookers often get tired of watching), and he doesn’t have happy little web-shooters (yes, the “Bob Ross” version of Spiderman), he has climbed some of the talles buildings in the world, including – recently – the Salam Tower in Doha, Qatar.

Robert was arrested, yesterday during an attempt to scale One Houston Center, in downtown. Robert was reportedly nabbed just as he was beginning his ascent, a scant “…one or two steps from getting away.” Roberts pulled up in a taxi, and dashed to the building and began climbing the 46-story building. A rather tall officer, acting on a tip from a reporter, stopped Robert by latching on to his ankles.

When asked why he wanted to attempt the climb, Robert responded, “I think that there is still that spirit of freedom in the United States.” Of course, a better motivation might have been the money paid to him by an on-line casion whose advertisements were covering Robert’s clothing. Robert bosted that he had comitted no crime, and was promptly charged with two: trespassing, and posession of a controlled substance (Xanax).

Robert is truly a phenom in the world of free-climb, with a career spanning over a quarter-century, and only two major falls – both in 1982 – in the forty-five foot range. Robert’s climb of the Salam Tower in Qatar was sanctioned. Robert was reported as saying, “I have just climbed a building with authorisation, which is not in my habits and besides I had to scale the structure with ropes and equipment.” Robert is not one for the assistance and life-line of a rope.
(Source: Denton RC)

NEWS – Accident in Mission Bend

Eric Scalf reports on an important holiday safety issue brought to light by a near tragic accident.

(Time: 1:20)

via This Week in Houston

Black Friday Is Coming Soon

With less than one week until the busiest shopping day of the year, it’s time to get prepared. In the past, I have dreaded the time between “Black Friday” and the first few days of the New Year – it’s almost impossible to get shopping done at retail outlets without having to wait endlessly in line.

However, this year I’ll be taking a different approach. The majority of my shopping will be online, and I will be completing my purchases well in advance to account for any shipping delays.

For those of you that are interested in pursuing the true holiday shopping experience by going to stores extra early on Friday, I stumbled across a page that lists all the specials for stores such as Best Buy, CompUSA, OfficeMax, etc. There’s some good deals on there, so if you find one that might of value to you, I’d get to the store extra early.

Campouts, anyone?

Intensity Changes Everything…

Got debt? Wanna’ be a millionaire? Wish you could retire sometime before you’re 85? (holy crap I sound like a spammer)

Maybe you should head over to Reliant Park from 1-6pm tomorrow to see Dave Ramsey, the uber-excited financial guru of the Dave Ramsey Show (get the podcast here).

I’m sure someone has tried to drag you to some conference like this before, but this could seriously be a life-defining few hours for you. Dave is an enthusiastic, funny and BRILLIANT guy who offers actionable advice to get your butt out of debt – regardless of how much or how little you have – and how to start reasonably amassing the fortune you deserve. $29 well-spent, if you ask me.


Today, I had to bury a close friend.  His wake was last night, and this morning we all met up at ye random non-denominational funeral home, and went in procession to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for the funeral mass, and then in procession to Forst Park, Lawndale, for the burial.  I experienced a few things from Houstonians, today, that I want to comment on.
During the procession from the funeral home to the church, I was very surprised at the way Houstonians acted.  I know the “traditional” rules don’t neccisarily apply in big cities.  Back home (Northeast Tennessee and very rural Southwest Virginia), when you come upon a funeral procession, if you’re in opposing traffic, you slow down and turn your headlights on until the last vehicle passes.  If you’re travelling in the same direction, you either stay a reasonable distance behind the last car, with your lights on, or stay in the other lane (if a multi-lane road) with lights on, and you do not pass the procession.  Also, back home, processions travelled at around 15 miles per hour, regardless of distance to go, or type of road.
Here in Houston, I know that just isn’t always possible.  Houstonians surprised me, though.  We travelled through the upper part of downtown (on Commerce), and a good portion of fifth ward, today.  During that time, while people did pass us, they did so slowly, and with their headlights on.  People in opposing lanes slowed way down and turned on the lights.  A couple of people even stopped while the procession (some 30 – 40+ cars) passed.  What surprised me most were the people on the sidewalks.  We passed a couple of construction sites.  By the time I got up to them (I was pretty far back in the procession), I was greeted with the workers standing, with their hard-hats off and held to their chest, watching us pass.  Many people we passed on the sidewalk would stop and face us, with their hand to their chest in a salute, or their heads bowed.  No, we were not burying a military person, and there were no American flags in the procession.  I was very surprised, awed, and touched by the actions of those Houstonians we passed, en route.  Thank you, Houston.
Unfortunately, our travel from church to cemetary was not as nice.  Some genius at HPD decided to route our procession down I-45 southbound, through downtown (the Pierce Elevated) at 10:45am.  Needless to say, it was a task keeping some 40+ cars all in one line, all steadily moving.  HPD did their job with the four motorcycle officers blocking entrance ramps until we passed, etc…  To make it obvious who was in the procession, we all had our hazard flashers on, as well as headlights.  As I was the next-to-last one in line, once the officers caught sight of me, they would be off, rushing forward to block the next ramp(s).  Unfortunately, every car backed up would flood onto the freeway at that point, and try to merge into our little line.
Houston, please, if you see a procession of many vehicles, with headlights (and possibally hazard flashers) on, with a police escort, there’s a 99.9% chance it is a funeral procession.  I understand that you want to get on the freeway and get where you’re going, but if you had just waited a few moments longer, you would not have broken into the line.  Many of us did not know precisely where we were going, and our getting there was dependant on keeping the person in front of us in view.
Now I have to hand it to most of the drivers, they got in the lane, and then quickly got out again, to exit, or moved over a lane.  Everyone except the HISD schoolbus that blocked the car in front of me, and myself, and one more, until we found an opening and risked our lives zooming through heavy traffic to get around it and catch back up to the rest of the group.  Many times, due to cars merging in and out of the line, we had to slam on our brakes (and it’s a cascade reaction.  Someone taps theirs, about ten cars later, I’m nearly flipping the truck over in an effort to keep from running into the back of the person in front of me) to keep from rear-ending each other.  Just slow down a bit (we were travelling at freeway speeds), and we’ll be by you as quickly as possible.  If it comes down to it, take the next exit and double back, if you can.  Please.  A good many people in funeral processions have been crying – or are still crying – and may not be in the most focused mode when driving.  Many of us were on auto-pilot.
I thank the three random people that dropped in behind us with their flashers on, just to give those of us at the back a little more buffer.  You guys really helped, we appreciate it.
That said, I have to admit, that procession was the trippiest experience I’ve ever had on a Houston freeway, and was therefore completely befitting the friend we buried.  He was the king of trippy experiences, he seemed to attract them like crazy.
Andy “Darwin” Garcia, you will be missed.  You would have been amazed at the good and bad of Houston, today.
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Plan for your turkey ahead of time

Raw Pork shaped into pig

Spotted this mound of raw pork shaped into a pig at Whole Foods and captured it on the camera phone. Didn’t do it justice. I always talk to the butcher about a week before Thanksgiving and get information on the best day to pick up the bird, what my different choices will be, and what size I should get. This way, when I belly up to the counter a few days before turkey day I have done my homework before slogging through the crowd. I go to Whole Foods so I can get a fresh organic turkey. There really is no substitute! Those frozen beasts from Krogers and Randalls are like plastic compared to a fresh organic bird.

Cold as ice… literally


Get your winter booties out kids, because it’s going to be one chilly night tonight. The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning in effect from 3am – 8am Thursday (tomorrow) morning in the following counties:

San Jacinto

Graffiti Hunters Image #2 :: MVKA


Beautiful big tag in the bayou brought to you by the letters M (Meat), V (Verb), K (Kqua) and A (Aims).

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