2008 Nov 09 | apartment, Trader's Village, driving

My living room with a bamboo theme. You can see the big Transformer's standee I kept from the movie theater against the wall by the dining table.

The kitchen. I put up a bunch of little movie strips near the ceiling. I also got the pictures of everybody in my class from the office and stuck them up on the cabinet. However, there are still people whose names I have trouble remembering, although that's mainly people who sit in the back.

Looking out of the bathroom with a tropical/water theme.

Looking into the bathroom. I tried to organize the towels in such a way that I go through all of them cyclically rather than using the same few over and over. I have four blue ones and two green ones, so the system was to put a green one underneath two blue ones. I'd use one shelf of towels top to bottom, and when I reached the green towel, it was time to switch to the other shelf. At least, that was the idea. I usually forgot how it worked and messed it up. Then I realized it would be much easier to just put the washed ones on the bottom and move the others up.

My bedroom. I love the shiny look of satin sheets but I can't stand how they feel (I tried sleeping on them once and ended up throwing them onto the floor and putting on the previous sheets in the middle of the night), so my solution was to just put a satin sheet on top of my regular sheets.

The guy on the left is taking up two spots and there's a cart taking up a spot to the right. Either on it's own is rather annoying, but come on; both at once?

I think I hate Coinmach more than any other company right now. I've used their online form to notify them about washing machines and dryers that don't work around our apartment complex (about eight different machines now), but they still haven't fixed any. It's especially frustrating because the first repair requests were almost two months ago. I gave them some leeway because that was before the hurricane and they might have had lots of other repairs from that, but now I'm getting annoyed enough to call and complain.

It can be a pain to get onto I-45 in the morning. Here the line of cars waiting to get on to the highway is backed up all the way to where cars come off. It's best to leave a hole for exiting cars so they can keep moving, but sometimes people don't do that, like here. Thanks, moron; now instead of them being able to go away, you've blocked them in and made it even more congested.

I can kind of understand the idea behind using a red light to modulate traffic moving on to I-45, but in reality, it's useless. It's usually turned off, and when it's on, traffic is almost always so backed up that it has no effect at all.

I'm not sure if I'd trust this trailer to hold, well, anything, including itself.

It appears that Ciba just gave a bunch of money to UHCO. Wal-Mart is sponsoring our white coat ceremony in the spring, and some people were rather annoyed about that (they're evil corporate optometry, their logo on the invites was too big, etc). Dean Smith even came in to our class to explain things to us and dispel some of the rumors, which I thought was really nice.

Some of my classmates were also in an uproar about the white coats themselves, which really rankled some of the faculty who are somehow involved in that. OK, everybody take a deep breath and calm down. This stuff is only going to matter for at most the next few years; you have around 30 years after that to do whatever you want.

The horror, the horror. I flip the cereal box around from the nutrition facts side to the other side and vice versa after I eat some for breakfast so, like my towels, I can cycle through them all before repeating any. However, the Honey Nut Cheerios I bought from Fiesta completely destroyed my cereal box organization. It had nutrition facts on BOTH sides, one in English and one in Spanish. I guess I could act like the Enlish side is the "nutrition facts" side and the Spanish side is the "other side," but I might forget that, forget that I ate Honey Nut Cheerios the previous morning, and then eat them again, two days in a row. Oh, I don't think this is going to work. Maybe I can cross out one side with a big magic marker or something.

This is a brilliant idea. Lots of places don't want to just give water away to get you to buy soda, but if they try to charge for water, people will complain about that, too (water should be free, right?). This way they can charge for it and still say they're not just being greedy.

If I'm reading this right, your organization goes to Pizza Hut, eats, and gets 20% off its bill. There has to be some catch, though, because otherwise people would just make "Save Money at Pizza Hut" organizations, go as a group, and only pay 80%. Heck, you wouldn't even need to do that. You could just call your family an organization whenever you went to Pizza Hut.

The parking lots in my apartment complex have speed bumps. However, most of them, like this one, only go halfway across, so people usually end up simply swerving around them (which means they actually make it more dangerous). There's often a car parked to the left, so even when coming from the other direction, I'll have to go over the bump.

There's a little spot in the middle where the bump is gone, though, so when I'm driving in the other direction, I can align the left tire to go through that, the right tire is way out where there's no bump, and it's like not hitting a bump at all. However, I apparently have absolutely no idea quite where the right tire is because I'm never able to make the right tire go through the gap when I'm driving this way, even though I've probably done it hundreds of times.

It looks like someone was angry they couldn't get in to the parking lot and took it out on the card reader used to open the gate.

It's always disappointing when you get a new credit card to replace an old one and it's not as neat looking. I really liked the old shiny one at the bottom, but the new black one with shiny writing is still pretty good.

I'm guessing it got too hot, eh?

I can see not putting the carts in the cart corral if the nearest corral is thousands of feet away from where you parked, but how lazy do you have to be to not simply walk it across a single lane?

Sometimes you can get good deals on candy right after Halloween. And sometimes there is a reason the candy didn't sell, which I think is the case with candy corn flavored soda.

I'd want to live/work in the big circular room at the top-right.

I drove out to Trader's Village on Sunday, which is a giant flea market. It took me 30 minutes to get within a few blocks. Then it appeared that everybody in Texas was going to Trader's Village because it took another 20 minutes to go those blocks to the entrance. After that, it was another 10-minute wait to get up to the actual entrance, where they charged me $3 to drive into a parking lot that seemed full as far as the eye could see.

I kept following traffic through the parking lot until, hilariously, we all drove out of the lot back into a regular road. I wasn't about to wait in the line to get into the parking lot again, so I decided to park on a local road and walk in. To my surprise, lots of other people did this. So many people had parked near where I did that they had in fact created a little path around a house, through some grass, and around this fence.

It was actually pretty dangerous; the path here was really steep dirt and didn't really have any type of stairs, so you had to kind of slide down and climb up. Ifelt like I was jumping the border, especially because everyone else who was parking over here was Mexican. Once I walked into the actual parking lot, I saw where there were still some open spots in one corner, but they didn't have anyone directing traffic towards them, at least when I was going through.

At least I saw this neat little car while sitting in traffic.

So, that was an hour-long one-way drive to get to a flea market. Did I mention I don't like flea markets? They're just like rummage sales or thrift shops with much higher prices.

The only reason I went was because someone had once mentioned I should check it out. Also, they had a pow-wow going on the weekend I went, so I thought I'd watch that for a while. It was OK, but probably not worth the trouble of getting there. At least it's checked off my "to do in Houston" list.

I can see chocolate and vanilla wafers, but the third section is covered by the wrapper. There had better be strawberry wafers under there. I kept imagining a meeting at the creme wafer office: "Guys, the strawberry wafers are expensive to make. But, if we just put the cheap vanilla wafers in their place and then cover them up with the packaging, the consumer will assume they are actually strawberry and won't know until they get home. Ha ha!"

This is one of my favorite employees that I interact with. He works the deli at a Randall's. I occasionally get a lunch special (like chicken strips, potato wedges, and a soda). However, I almost always take it home to eat, so I don't want the soda. I have plenty at home, and more importantly, it comes in those paper cups. That wouldn't be a problem if that's all I bought, but usually I have lots of other groceries, and I can barely carry all of them. I'd almost need a whole free hand just to carry the cup filled with soda without spilling it, and that's never possible. So I would always get the special and simply throw the cup away as soon as I left the store.

I tried explaining to other employees that I only wanted the chicken strips and wedges, no soda, but they'd explain how the lunch special with the soda is so cheap. And if I asked for the special without the soda, that would completely confuse them as well. Until one glorious day when this man was working and I mentioned I didn't really want the soda. He said I could get an extra side order instead, which was extremely wonderful because I like lots of variety when I eat. However, the next time I was there, I asked a different employee for the special with two side orders instead of one and the soda, and he said I couldn't do that, so now I'll only order from this man. Plus, he's really nice and friendly in general.

The Ravens were playing the Texans at Reliant Park, which I didn't know about until I tried to drive on the nearby highway just as lots of people were leaving the game. However, I noticed the mess before I got onto the highway, so I just drove on the feeder road until I passed the congestion. Lots of times that actually takes longer than just staying on the slow-moving highway due to there being lots of stop signs on the feeder roads, but this time the traffic was so jammed up it actually saved a lot of time.

According to the people who voted on the website after Halloween, I had the second-best costume of the finalists. Then again, only 50 people voted, so that's not a very big sample size. Plus, it's only out of six finalists, and there were lots of other great cosumes that I saw that probably should have also been finalists but were not. Maybe everyone who voted for Bender were simply her friends, and everyone who didn't vote really loved my costume. Then again, maybe only 11 people liked my costume and all the people who didn't vote liked Bender's. In the end, though, while it's a nice bonus to do well in the eyes of other people, what really matters is that I had a lot of fun.