2009 Aug 09 | night hike, UniverSoul circus, FP fest

Tuesday night I had my presentation for our Nutrition class. My topic was bilberries, so I made blueberry mini-muffins for the class. I wanted to find bilberries, but none of the grocery stores I looked in had them.

Grr, the dumb mini-muffin tin takes forever to wipe down by hand. Gotta go in each individual cup one by one.

Ooh, a door at the school which is never open is open! Gotta look inside.

A friend told me about the Houston Hash House Harriers, a running group. The idea is that a few people go first and mark trails with Xs and then everyone chases after them and tries to find the correct trails. It sounds like fun, but they usually run in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, which is too hot for me, not to mention I usually have other things going on. But they do a run every time there's a full moon, too, so I want to do one of those. However, so far I've been really busy every night they've had one. Maybe next time.

On Thursday morning, everyone who did the summer research program for the first time put up posters on what they did and explained it to any professors and grad students who came around.

It would have been nice to have other people come and see them, though.

This was mine, on early detection of AMD, which has been a lot of fun.

And this is one I was a subject in. See the orange circles that go the opposite way of everyone else? Yeah, that's me for some reason. Sigh.

Oh come one. Most of the candy is 90 cents...

... and a drink is $1.15. They really should reduce the price of either of them by five cents so one of each is an even $2.

This guy had some really scratched up glasses. I'm usually really good at finding PAL markings on lenses, but these took me a while.

Now that the construction on the highway on the way to school is done, it's faster than the local roads by at least five minutes most of the time. Which is kind of sad; I liked taking the local roads, but not if it's going to cost me five minutes each time.

Friday evening a few of us played volleyball down in Sugar Land. It was in a really nice (expensive) community park. This was the pool.

Another pretty view there.

The volleyball court was near this little lake. One of the balls went into the water and floated to the other side. Thankfully these people were walking their dogs and one jumped in and brought the ball back. Good dog.

Saturday morning we went to a vision screening for SVOSH at a back-to-school festival for kids. There were already tons of people lined up outside before it even opened, which was rather intimidating.

Afterwards all the volunteers got a free beef brisket lunch.

And they even had beer for us.

A map there of the Hispanic population in Houston. Green areas are 50% or more Hispanic, yellow are 30-35%, orange are 10-30%, and pink are 10% or less. I knew there were lots of Hispanics in Houston, but I never knew there were that many.

I'm assuming this is a local news reporter. Sigh; it doesn't say anything about how knowledgeable she is about news or anything; it's just going off her looks. Then again, I don't know what the big deal is with news anchors. They're not even reporters. They just sit there and read. I can do that.

My Bay to Breakers shirt has had a hole in it pretty much since I got it because the cat we had at our house in Berkeley clawed it.

Well, the other day I just randomly decided to do something about it, so I grabbed a needle and a thread and got to work.

I'm not sure if it's really better because it's still pretty obvious something is wrong with it. But at least it's not a hole. Maybe if I leave the whole shirt all wrinkly it won't be as noticeable.

I think sometimes I'm too nice to patients. One of them and I were chatting away and we happened to discuss poker. So he pulled out this list of places he plays poker at in Houston and gives it to me.

Saturday evening was more volleyball. I actually got a few other people to take pictures with my camera when I was playing, too.

We played 6-on-6 on two courts with people rotating it, so we probably had around 30 people there most of the time. Actually, I showed up about 45 minutes early and there were already some other die-hard players there, so we started playing 3-on-3 and added people in as they showed up.

This is why I love this group. Everyone missed the ball, and instead of yelling at each other, they all fall down laughing about it.

Juan vs DJ at the net. Juan was actually drinking a beer with one hand and playing with the other earlier in the game; he's really fun.

Nancy always shows up late because she has something else going on earlier in the day. She's really good and is always communicating, but I told her she's too nice. If she's set up to hit it and someone jumps in her way, she just says, "That's OK." I told her she should say, "Get out of my way; that was my ball!" because she's almost certainly going to hit it better than them.

I brought some hoses and these toads were sitting in the little hole the spigot is in. I was worried they wouldn't be able to get out, so I put them on the grass beside the hole, but they just jumped back in.

I actually left the volleyball game before it was over because another group was doing a night hike around downtown Houston.

A neat little area.

Some interesting pillars.

A semi-hidden button that when you push it...

... makes this area of the river bubble.

A shot of the city at night. Sarah actually brought a nice camera and a tripod, so all of her pictures are much better than mine.

Wearing glow-necklaces helps us find each other if we get separated, which actually happened this time a bit because there was a group of fast walkers and another group of slow walkers.

Going through a construction zone.

Some of the route got us pretty close to traffic.

Another view of downtown.

A neat circular skywalk.

Some tall buildings.

An outdoor mall.

Even though it's pretty late...

... it's still really hot.

One of the two big parabolas at Discovery Green where you can hear what the other person is saying 60 feet away in the other one.

This ice-cream truck stop wasn't planned, but it was sure nice.

Like I said, Sarah brought a nice camera, and she and Chen kept falling behind because he was giving her tips on how to take better pictures, so Scott kept stopping and waiting for them, which annoyed some of the others on the hike. They were a bit inconsiderate of the other people in the group who wanted to get done and get to bed, but I could see how they were excited to meet someone else they could discuss taking pictures with.

That's one...

... and two bail bonds stores on the same block. Not the best neighborhood.

Main street from the north.

After the hike a few of us went for pizza at Frank's.

I'm not sure exactly what these are, but if they're alarms or something, somebody really doesn't want anyone in there.

Sigh, gotta wake up a little more before making breakfast. Dumping cereal into the glass with orange juice in it isn't the smoothest move.

I didn't realize the new EZ Tag I had bought had to be activated before being used. I had thrown away the receipt with the activation code, so I couldn't do it online, and they were closed on Sunday, so I couldn't call them. So much for using it today.

Sunday we went to the UniverSoul Circus.

Some dancers.

The Asian acrobats were one of my favorite performances. But do circuses have some sort of exemption to the child labor laws?

These guys were dancing to try to impress the girl.

But she ended up being more impressive than any of them.

Soul train, where a guy and a girl danced alongside each other. The last guy really went wild and even snaked along the floor, which the audience loved.

I think these guys running in and around the spinning circles were my favorite.

I did see a few Asians in the audience, but no whites nor Hispanics.

Motorcycles in a steel ball.

This was fun; they threw giant balls into the audience to hit around. They never got up to us, though, because people would always hit them forward.

A neat dress.

Guys on stilts.

A limbo dancer.

When they put it this low I though she was going to jump over it as a comedy act. Somehow she actually still went under, though.


A comedy act with two magicians trying to one-up each other to impress their respective girlfriends.

They turned the girls in blue into a tiger.

Near the end they had a dance-off, with one couple under 25 who danced to new-school music and one couple over 30 who danced to old-school music.

They younger couple was pretty good.

But the older couple was amazing. The guy was really getting into it, kicking his chair away, spinning his hair, and kissing the girl on the hand, and the crowd was really cheering for him.

Then the woman danced for him and was like 100 times better. She even took off her wig and threw it, at which point the audience went completely crazy and gave her a standing ovation.

And they finished off with elephants.

A short video of some circus acts.

I like the outside elevators.

The Free Press Summer Fest was going on Saturday and Sunday from noon until around 10pm. We went Sunday night, and there were a ton of people.

There were two stages, and this one had a much smaller crowd.

After the sun went down.

Some girls swinging their glowsticks around.

Wait, that's way more than I usually pay...

... arg, I used 93 instead of 89.

If I take this tollway, it saves about 5-10 minutes each way. However, it also costs $1.25 each way, which isn't nearly worth it to me, so I just stick to local roads or take other non-toll highways.

This is my kind of cookbook. Big, colorful pictures.

This one had some yummy recipes, but they were way too long. Plus, most of the recipes had ingredients I would only use once and which would then sit on a shelf for years without ever being used again.

Ah, that's more my style. They did cheat a little by not including little things like butter or salt as one of the three, but I think that's OK because the ingredients they didn't count are things everyone always has.

I was outside one night and apparently had been standing on top of an ant hill. All of the sudden the ants all bit me at once. I wonder if they used some sort of chemical to coordinate their attack. I have a nice ring of these all around my right ankle. It was weird, too, because I've never seen ant bites that swelled up this much and were filled with fluid.

Why I love Fandango. $1 charge per ticket = 13% extra.

Why I hate Ticketmaster. $8.58 charge per ticket = 52% extra. Plus, they split it up into many small charges in the hope that you don't notice it. Time to start buying tickets at the gate instead (although then you risk having the event sold out, which would really be annoying).