2009 Jun 07 | Research etc, sandcastle competition

Expired meds aren't that bad; they just slowly decrease in effectiveness. The other items the story mentions, like food, are actually dangerous when expired, but I guess they thought putting "meds" in the title would sound scarier and get people to may more attention.

These big trucks have been sitting on this part of the road recently. I'm sure there's room to drive them onto a lot somewhere so they're not in the way.

Our lockers aren't big enough to store all of our equipment, so we have to haul some back and forth from our vehicles every day. You'd think they could find some extra space somewhere in the school so we wouldn't have to do that. They do have outlets, though, which is nice to charge equipment.

They were working on top of the building and the roof access was open. I wanted to climb up and look around, but I didn't want to get yelled at, so I decided to not go exploring.

I wonder if it's legal for a single place of business to block off all these parking spaces so they can make everyone valet. I'll usually drive a good block or two to find another spot rather than pay them because this just annoys me, not to mention I don't like giving up my keys.

We went to a comedian Thursday night, Billy D Washington. I like his pacing. The first comedian was one we saw earlier at Sherlock's open mic night.

This giraffe is in the pedatrics area of the optometry clinic. It always freaks me out a bit because it looks headless as it's neck is "above" the ceiling.

One of these days I'm going to break down and clean these windows myself.

The autorefractor was in plus-cyl mode. It's not really a problem because it's easy to convert to minus cyl, but it was still annoying. I spent half an hour messing with it and looking for a manual to no avail, along with every student who came to use it.

Dr. Black came and looked at it, and we went through every menu item we could find. Finally he flipped up the little panel on the left and underneath was a button to switch between cylinder modes. I guess it kind of makes sense to hide it like that so you don't hit it by accident, but they could have put a little label like "cylinder button underneath" or something.

I hate flip flops and like the sandals that have straps around the back, but most stores sell thousands of the former and often don't even have the latter.

I was almost overwhelmed by there being so many choices of trail mix. It was actually nice, though, because I was able to pick exactly what I wanted.

Saturday was the AIA sandcastle competition at East Beach in Galveston, the only beach there where "drinking is legal."

Instead of letting you park wherever you wanted, they were very strict about making everyone park in order. Considering the number of people that were going to the beach that day, I guess that makes sense.

My favorite part of the competition was actually seeing how the different teams got water from the ocean to their building areas.

Here we have both the least (walking with buckets) and the most (battery-operated pumps) technological methods.

Lots of teams also had big pools to store water in.

A bicycle-operated pump.

Probably my favorite; a giant two-person pump. I'm glad not everyone just used the electric pumps because these were much neater.

People on top of the rising sand castles, stomping them down.

The round blue umbrellas are for rent. This cop was telling these guys they had to move because apparently you aren't supposed to set up your own covers between the rentals.

People were fishing on this side of the beach. The water between the beach and the pier is a "no swimming" zone, and some lifeguards came and yelled at some people in it. I would have stood my ground because the water was only up to your knees, so they were actually only wading there, not swimming.

People could vote for which sand castle they thought was the best, and most teams had a few promoters out front trying to get people to sign their sheet. These two had one of the most interesting costumes.

This team had lots of big wooden pieces to shape the sand.

That's a lot of ladders, so hopefully it will be pretty big, and honestly, I think size itself is a large factor in how people vote. Plus they have some pretty girls in bikinis trying to get the votes, although I like the costumes.

There was a stage set up playing music, but the live show was the night before and only for the competitors.

Uh oh, they ran out of toilet paper in all of the porta potties. I hope someone ran into town and got some more.

This guy came flying by to check things out.

That one is kind of neat; I like lots of details.

More details and a big snake.

Big and intricate; very good.

A giant globe.

Another big one, but not as elaborate.

This one even has a moat, which seems like a smart way to make it look bigger. In addition to building the castle up, remove the sand around it.

Another really tall one.

On my way out I was planning on passing the $10 parking permit off to someone coming in, but unfortunately it says "no re-entry."

I arrived and left early (around 9am and 2pm) to avoid traffic, which turned out to be a pretty good idea because the line to get to the beach at 2pm was miles long and over an hour wait.

I read The Taking of Pelham 123 but thought that the praise from the Houston Chronicle was a little questionable. How would the reviewer know it was "chillingly real" if s/he lives in a city that doesn't have a subway?

Aw, there's mold on my day-old strawberries. And now the conundrum: should I throw them all away? Can I eat all of them except the one with visible mold? How about all of them except the ones touching the one with mold? Decisions, decisions.

Sunday afternoon a group of us went to Spotts Park to play volleyball. It's a pretty nice little place, but there doesn't seem to be many places to park.

This group was there before us and there was another group, too, and only two courts. However, once a court opened up, we started playing on it, and even though we asked if these guys wanted it when we were done with a game, they didn't really say anything, so we just kept playing.

Our group had about 20 people, so we played six on six and rotated about 2-3 people in at each change of service. The groups playing on the other court were small, though, so some of the people in our group played with them, which worked well because everyone was really nice about teaming up with new people. Also, that meant nobody had to sit out an entire game to let another team play; you just had to sit out a couple of serves.

All the players were really friendly and nobody was overly aggressive. Even though most of us didn't know each other before we started playing, by the end we were all joking around with each other and having a lot of fun.