Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Continuing on with new place. Viola - the kitchen. I heart new kitchen!

The granite countertops are fantastic. So much space for the cook in me. And everyone who has seen me cook knows how I like to lay everything out before the process begins.

Oh, and a GAS cooktop; I love cooking with gas. For some reason everything cooks more evenly. There's gobs of space, in fact two of the pull out drawers by the stove are still empty, as is the cabinet over the fridge. The big stainless vent-a-hood over the stove took a while to figure out, but now I like it. All the buttons glow cobalt when its on. New dishwasher was so quiet when I ran it the first time I thought it was broken.

Kitchen, angle right

Kitchen, tap dead center

Kitchen, pillow farm

Kitchen, angle left

Kitchen, facing to living


Saturday, June 28, 2008


A Venezuelan friend recommended this one to me and I'm very glad he did since I had never head of it.

In many ways it reminded me of Crash. Not so much in the storyline but its philosophy and execution. Each character, with the help of an NYC backdrop, showed every bit of their humanity. I think its that quality in a film that allows it to bind to an audience and effectively deliver a message. Like Crash, this film had a weighty moral message .

The story stays in the present and progesses linearly but fragments of the past and future are spliced seamlessly, creating an interesting puzzle for the viewer. At the critical juncture, the horrific event that crystalizes the message, those fragments all of a sudden make sense. The message seems to be that accidents occur; destructive, life-changing ones at that, but the event often pales in comparison to the recovery. It could have been a completely depressing experience but the story and script are so real, focused and well-rounded that I walked away feeling good. Sobering but still uplifting and thought-provoking.

I was super impressed with the leads: Eduardo Verástegui and Tammy Blanchard. I had never heard of either. By the quality of performances in this one, I'm sure we will be hearing more. Even with full-on Jesus beard, I've inserted Verástegui into my good looking actors list. Before Jake G. but definitely after Jason Statham :)


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the office yet. You can probably see that "in transition" look for yourself. The office is a room, actually a floor, that lives between my bedroom and the living room. I decided to ditch my old desk and get a glass and chrome version. I like it. At night I put lights underneath the desk and the whole thing glows like a strange craft.

One of the things I really like about new place are the windows (there are plenty) and the shades. The shades are not anything special but they slide up from the bottom and down from the top. A few of the windows didn't have shades by design, some new concept in "open-ness" which I still call a lack of privacy. But I found the manufacturer online and ordered some more. Super inexpensive - $100 for 2 rather large and odd shaped coverings. If you're in the market, try


Monday, June 23, 2008


I know. I officially suck at getting posts of new place out on the blog. I will try to do the office and kitchen before the weekend. Its been a busy couple of weeks at at the cancer shoppe. Some days I get in at 7a and the first time I come up for air its 6p. But I love it; its the first job I've had in a decade where I feel I am doing something important.

In the meantime I will entertain you with Houston factoids.

Houston is currently the 4th largest city. But since it grows 25% a decade and the current 3rd largest city, Chicago, is growing at 4% a decade, Houston will be the third largest city in 10 years. That would bring our metro population to near 9 million. I cant imagine another 2 million people here but I guess we will make room, lol.

Houston has the largest medical center in the world. Yes, the world. Working in the medical center is both amazing and frustrating. My research facilty occupies 45 million square feet of space in dozens of buildings but we are just one of 40 such places in a small area. The brain trust in the medical center is staggering. Parking in Manhattan on a Saturday night would be a breeze in comparison to what I face everyday. Cancer patients roam the streets 24 hours a day, most of whom come to Houston for months on end for treatment. It threw me a little in the beginning, seeing them on the streets and in the grocery store, but I still look at it as a place of hope rather than repair shoppe for the otherwise terminal.

Houston is second in hosting the most fortune 500 companies, NYC being #1.

The Port of Houston is the highest volume port in the US.

After Houston finishes its next sports arena, it will claim being the city with the most sports arenas (5, although the Astrodome is being torn down I think)

Houston was ranked the #1 city in the US for employment growth.

We have the largest Indian/Pakistani community in the country, 2nd largest Persian community and the 5th largest Arab community. The fastest growing communities in Houston are Puerto Rican, Dominican, Argentinian and Venezuelan. (good thing I know Spanish).


Sunday, June 15, 2008


Continuing on with new place. This is the bedroom; its on the 4th floor with the bathroom/closet area. No internal walls makes it interesting. There is a half wall at the foot of the bed, I guess to keep me from plummeting two stories into the living room.

Zie Bed

The "wall" bedhind the bed is actually the backside of the closet; there's 2 ft of pass-thru space on top.

Entry to bedroom

Long narrow hallways abound; so do odd shaped windows.

View from bed

The front of the unit is all glass - no window coverings. The house next door is one of those 6000 sq ft monsters that was built in the 40's. There are probably a dozen or so people living there and I'm going to guess they are mostly medical students. Its odd to live in such extreme light but not necessarily bad. I'm not one to sleep in, thankfully.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Communication Down

Sorry, I really meant to keep posting house pics but my phone and internet took a dive last week and were just restored tonight. No worries, the bedroom pics are coming soon.

Work is going well, I really like the company and the people. I've been driving in the whole 3 minutes, only because I've been doing a lot of lunch time shopping and all of that is further away.

I love Houston; its almost like I never left. I miss my friends in Dallas but I dont miss the city at all.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Peep Show

New place is in the Museum District. I'm on the fringe in a transitional area that is partially an older black community and partially yuppies of all flavors who work in the medical center. If you know Houston, you know that zoning has never been something they consider important. In this neighborhood there is a little of everything: medical services, retail, low income housing, million dollar townhomes and a string of african art galleries and BBQ shops.

On one side of me there is a 5000 sf house built in the 30's. Its a beautiful home that has been well-maintained. As is typical for this this neighborhood, houses like these are partitioned into apartments. This house has 10 or so college aged students; I dont think I've seen anyone over 25 come in or out. But they are quiet and respectful so far.

On the other side of me there are two duplexes. Two younger black families with kids; they are very nice and expect for the kiddies playing in backyard, also very quiet. Directly across from me are two low income 8-plexs. At first glance they are scary looking, as are some of the people hanging around them, but everyone there has been very friendly and helpful.

Let's start looking at new place from the top down. There are four floors. Top floor is the bed-bath combo.

Master Bath

Tub, Entry to Shower

Shower Area

Master Bath

Built Ins

Love the bathroom, particularly the 16 ft of builtins (there is another row opposite which you can't see). The back of the builtins forms the wall for the bedroom.

One thing I just discovered is that the position of the mirror over the sink allows a direct view through the front of the unit to me in the shower. Not that anyone in the house beside me is going to go out of their way to view such but its available. At first it freaked me out, now I just laugh. I'll probably wind up on YouTube.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Everything is unpacked and put away. All the boxes are broken down, tied up and in the garage. I have located all the essentials: Bank, Gas Station, Home Depot and Central Market. I'm slowly getting used to the new freeways and the maze of one way streets and subway-only parts of the roads in my neighborhood.

This week is only orientation at work so I doubt there will be much to tell. I like everyone so far. I completely love the fact that I can take the subway to work or get in my car and drive a whole 1.2 miles.

There are a couple of things I've noticed about Houston. First, the people are much more friendly than Dallas. This took some getting used to. You might not expect it since Houston is the 4th largest city in the US, but they still are rooted in a more southern tradition of social interaction.

Everything is green and plants grow like crazy; its like living in a forest. I guess high humidity has a silver lining.

Traffic is worse than rush hour in Manhattan. Sheesh, maybe its just the paths I take but I know I will stay off the roads between 4-8p if at all possible.

Economy, e-shmonomy. If the economy is doing poorly you would never know it by the amount of high-end residential going up all over. I thought it might just be in the Museum District but apparently no place inside the loop is exempt. In a 4-block walk around my neighborhood I counted 23 new town home complexes under construction.

I'll get to pictures this weekend, I just located the camera last night :)


Monday, June 02, 2008

Let It Be

Generally speaking, unless I'm parked in $100 Broadway theatre seat, I am not a fan of the musical. But this one was recommended by one of my new Houston friends and he was quite accurate - fantastic.

The plot is trite and predictable but who really watches a musical for innovative plot details. You should definitely watch this one for its 1960's psychedelica, the trauma and protest of the Viet Nam war and the renovated Beatles homage, most of which I thought was better delivered than the originals (no offense to Beatles purists).

There is one scene early on that is set against the backdrop of the Detroit riots. I thought it was one of the most moving scenes I've seen this year. The track accompanying the riot footage is "Let It Be", but rather than its Beatles rendition it was done in chicken-fried gospel. This one hit a chord with me since I was lucky enough in my single digit years to visit an all black church in southern Alabama to hear this kind of gospel first-hand. Its one of my most favorite memories. Not that I saw anything mind you, you know black ladies and their big-ass, ornate church hats block every view, but the powerful vocals and raw energy still stick with me today.

Across The Universe

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