2007 May #2 | Strawberry Festival

They have lots of school zones where you have to slow down when the lights are flashing. However, you almost never see any kids even when this is occuring. And since you're driving a lot slower, you get bored and start looking around, playing with your radio, etc and are probably actually more likely to run a kid over.

I almost never buy strawberries or cherries because they're so expensive, but this deal was too good to pass up.

I don't think this moth has the whole "blend into your surroundings" plan figured out.

Wal-Mart always has tons of carts but almost no baskets. And I hate carts; they're hard to move around a packed store so it takes longer to get what I want. Although you can get moving and then jump on the back of them for a ride.

All the freeways have feeder roads that run alongside them. There is always a lane immediately after an exit to make a U-turn, the next 1 or 2 lanes are for left turns, the far left lane after the light is to go onto the freeway, and the middle lanes go straight. You can actually drive on the feeder road the whole length of the freeway, but the speed limit is usually closer to 50 rather than 60 and there is a stop light at every exit. I think this system works pretty well, although since you're basically doubling the amount of roadway you have, it should.

Tag Your Tot: for when you're too lazy to actually watch after your kid.

There was a Strawberry Festival in Pasadena. The major event was a huge mud volleyball tournament. They had about 20-30 games going all the time.

A smart idea: duct-taping your shoes on.

There were also plenty of people just playing around in the mud.

They had the world's largest strawberry shortcake, too. I thought this was interesting because back in high school I got to eat a piece of the then-world's-largest strawberry shortcake at the international science fair.

I went to a Jamba Juice north of where I lived and then left. As I was sitting at the stop light, Bruce Gisi ran up and waved. Apparently he had seen me pulling out and flew across the parking lot to get my attention. The fourth largest city in the US and I meet an old high school and college buddy the second day I'm here; what crazy odds. Bruce is a lawyer and Leslie, his wife, teaches fourth grade.

We celebrated the birthdays of Leslie and one of their friends by hanging out by their pool, barbequing, and then going out for drinks with some other people. At this bar this pool table's money-taking slider was broken, so we got free games.

I'm still using Craigslist, but it's not nearly as big as is was in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm always checking out the "free" section, and one ad happened to have free live bamboo. I figured I could use a few more plants, so I headed over there with a shovel. Bamboo has a big stalk, and then the roots shoot off underground to form other stalks, so you have to chop all of those up before you can get the plant out. It wasn't too hard, except for getting to the roots in back because all the other stalks get in your way.

Wonderful, the one size I need is completely out.

I'm pretty sure the "10 item limit" lanes goes by the number of items the cashier has to scan and not the number of different item types, so 10 boxes of Band-Aids and 8 other items isn't 9 but 18.

Lots of the roads are divided, and so they have open areas at intersections. This can get pretty messy, though, because if people make a U-turn, they usually hug the near side, but if people are turning, they generally go to the far side. Which means if someone is making a U-turn at the same time someone from the other direction is only turning, they both would normally drive through the same space. And then if someone is trying to get across the road from the side, it's complete chaos.

Apparently a part of the movie Fargo was filmed right here. There are lots of nice neighborhoods with big houses.

Only a few freeways have tolls, but the ones that do can be a real pain if it's busy. I bought an EZ TAG so I could drive through the left lanes at normal speed rather than slow down and throw change in a machine. I almost never drive on the toll highways, but I figure it will be worth it when I do.

The stamp machine at the post office wouldn't take my $10 bill, so I had to use a $20, and it gave me change in $1 coins, which nobody wants.

Is there some kind of postal convention going on at the mailboxes in our apartment complex? There are 5 postal trucks there.

A girl at Ikea kept asking her mom where the round bed was, and finally she saw it and just went wild.

At Jillian's (which is basically a Dave & Busters, where they have food, drinks, and arcade games), they had cameras on this driving game so you could watch the reaction of the players, which was pretty entertaining.

At the midnight showing of Pirates of the Caribbean, a few people dressed up like pirates.

Another annoying thing about Texas drivers: they'll pull around a slower vehicle in their lane into your lane even if you're going 10+ mph faster than them as long as they have a few inches to spare. Drivers around San Francisco would either pull into your lane way ahead of time or else would wait until you had gone around. Personally, I like how Germans drive: you always yield to cars going faster than you. If you're in the far left lane and someone is coming up behind you, you get into the other lane no matter what.

Here, though, it's every man for himself. Traffic in San Francisco will generally sort itself out so that the farther left the lane is, the faster the traffic goes, whereas in Houston, it's a complete coin toss as to which lane will be the fastest because slow drivers won't get out of the left lanes. It does result in "better" drivers, though; you have to be pretty aware of what's going on if you're going to be cutting across 4 lanes of traffic every few seconds. Oh, and almost nobody uses blinkers, which really annoys me.

The delivery man just left my package out in front of my door rather than taking it to the central office like they often do. I guess it must be a pretty safe apartment complex.

I have come to absolutely hate people who get in accidents. Even heavy traffic usually flows fairly quickly unless somebody smashes into somebody else and then they just leave their cars in the lane rather than pushing them off onto the side.