BlathrWayne Lorentz

Blathring in September, 2021.

A shot in the dark

Monday, September 27th, 2021 Alive 18,416 days

CVS #1 today: No, you canʼt have a COVID shot.

CVS #2 today: No, you canʼt have a COVID shot.

Walgreens: Here, have a COVID shot! And a coupon!

I donʼt think CVS understands the goals of the governmentʼs COVID vaccination program.

❖ ❖ ❖

His beard looks soft

Sunday, September 26th, 2021 Alive 18,415 days

Annie watching Star Trek: The Next Generation

Sometimes Annie watches Star Trek with me. Itʼs no surprise; all the ladies love Riker.

❖ ❖ ❖

Island vacation

Saturday, September 25th, 2021 Alive 18,414 days

Darcie managed to get a Saturday off of work, so we went down to Galveston Island.

People in Houston always like to say that Galveston is crap, but itʼs not. Sure, itʼs a bit run-down, but so is every single seaside town Iʼve been to on the planet, from Seattle to Kowloon to Torquay to Singapore to Üsküdar to Barnegat Light. Thatʼs part of what makes them seaside towns.

Even so, Galveston is much better now than when we last saw it 20 years ago. Far fewer abandoned buildings. Far better streets. And now that Darcie and I are older now, we see Galveston differently and driving around can decipher its history just by looking at the building styles. Weʼll be back.

I mentioned the trip to one of my doormen this morning, and she told me sheʼs never been there. Sheʼs lived in Houston all her life (24 years is my guess), but never bothered to drive 40 minutes to see the ocean. Itʼs both sad and not surprising. There are an awful lot of people in the world who never take an interest in anything beyond whatʼs immediately in front of them.

❖ ❖ ❖

Lobby lizard

Saturday, September 25th, 2021 Alive 18,414 days

The Hotel Galvez and also Spa

For generations, hotels have been more than places of rest. They have served as public spaces, places of respite, and cultural institutions.

I have met people who donʼt understand why good hotels have elaborate lobbies, full-service bars, and fine restaurants. They think of hotels as nothing more than a place to sleep. But just as you can use a computer for more than sending messages, hotels are far more than places to be unconscious.

The Hotel Galvez is one of those places. On this day, it serves my and my wife well as a refuge from the heat. A place to recharge with afternoon tea. And an opportunity to reflect on what we did today.

There is no shortage of shorted and flip-flopped tourists to-ing and fro-ing through the space, intent on maximizing their experiences. But experience is about more than checking items off of a list. Itʼs about savoring what life offers you. They can have their precisely-computed schedules of water parks and trinket hunting. A comfy chair, an ocean breeze, and an attentive waitress are what makes a vacation memorable to me.

The Hotel Galvez
The Hotel Galvez
❖ ❖ ❖

Pile it on

Saturday, September 25th, 2021 Alive 18,414 days

A weathered piling

Time and tide conspire to turn a piling into a cylinder of art.

❖ ❖ ❖

Saturday, September 25th, 2021 Alive 18,414 days

People having a pleasurable time next to Galvestonʼs Pleasure Pier
❖ ❖ ❖

Pier pressure

Saturday, September 25th, 2021 Alive 18,414 days

Underneath Galvestonʼs Pleasure Pier
❖ ❖ ❖

Dead tree edition

Monday, September 20th, 2021 Alive 18,409 days

An error message from The New York Times

If the largest newspaper in America canʼt keep its web site running, what chance do I have?

❖ ❖ ❖

Wet feet

Sunday, September 19th, 2021 Alive 18,408 days

The roof of The Star, in the rain

I shall work here today.

Itʼs a gentle rain, and Iʼm under the overhang.

❖ ❖ ❖

Upper railing

Sunday, September 19th, 2021 Alive 18,408 days

An error message from The New York Times

The New York Times has “lost” this web page. I guess thatʼs not surprising, since it also lost my newspaper today.

❖ ❖ ❖

Latte, how are ya?

Sunday, September 19th, 2021 Alive 18,408 days

A Texas latte from Day 6 Coffee

Today's coffee is the Texas Latte from Day Six Coffee in downtown Houston.

This coffee is probably best taken hot, but even though it's only 93° today, my body still believes it's a hundred-and-bullshit outside, so I got it iced.

It's pretty good, but should be well-swirled to make sure all the good bits at the bottom get properly distributed throughout.

The Day Six menu describes it as a "double shot of espresso with vanilla bean flavoring, caramel sauce, and steamed milk." I usually associate vanilla with Madagascar, and caramel with England. But Texas has milk, so we'll go with that. It's a solid drink, but forgettable. The sort of thing that you can get pretty much anywhere. And at $5.50 a pop, it's not really value-for-money. $3.99, and I'm there.

❖ ❖ ❖

Your tax dollars flushed

Friday, September 17th, 2021 Alive 18,406 days

Rome is renowned as the city of fountains. Itʼs my understanding that Kansas City also considers itself a city of fountains. Houston, on the other hand, is a city of dead fountains.

When I last lived in Houston, the city had recently spent millions sprucing up a slice of downtown, filling it with imaginative fountains, and declaring it “The Cotswold District” in sign and literature.

Ignoring the absurdity of the cognomen, what happened after that is a typical Houston story. Nobody maintained the fountains. Today, there are over a dozen of these bulky, trash-filled wrecks beached across half as many city blocks.

I wrote to my city council representative asking what happened, and didnʼt get a response. I guess he doesnʼt need my vote.

I asked some of the locals about it, and they told me that fountains downtown are a bad idea from the start because homeless people will just use them for bathing. OK, I understand that. But the problem isnʼt the fountains, itʼs that youʼre not taking care of your homeless people. Homeless people sleep on the streets, too. Does that mean we shouldnʼt have streets anymore?

❖ ❖ ❖

Still waters

Thursday, September 16th, 2021 Alive 18,405 days

Main Street Square

A quiet evening at Main Street Square in downtown Houston.

Itʼs quiet because the Main Street Square fountains are broken. And have been for at least several months, if not longer.

Have I mentioned that Houston is a city where everything is broken all the time?

❖ ❖ ❖

Use your noodle

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 Alive 18,403 days

The Market Square Tower pool

They threw the deck chairs into the pool at Market Square Tower to keep them from blowing away in the storm.

They hung the pool over the public sidewalk because they like to tempt fate.

❖ ❖ ❖

Friday, September 10th, 2021 Alive 18,399 days

Itʼs funny how a bunch of people who arenʼt even smart enough to get vaccinated are suddenly lecturing everyone else, like theyʼre a bunch of Constitutional scholars.

❖ ❖ ❖

Itʼs tiny

Monday, September 6th, 2021 Alive 18,395 days

A tiny flower

My tiny moss has made a tiny flower.

❖ ❖ ❖

Good location, though

Saturday, September 4th, 2021 Alive 18,393 days

I went to the Church of the Annunciation today. Itʼs one of those urban core Catholic churches that churches under the radar, serving its neighborhood for hundreds of years while the nearby cathedral gets all the attention. Most large American cities have one like this. Places like Saint Joan of Arc in Las Vegas, Assumption Catholic Church in Chicago, and the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis are other examples.

Annunciation is old-school, in both style, architecture, and message. While I did the special kind of musty funk that fills old American Catholic churches, Iʼve never been able to get used to using a Communion rail. Perhaps I have weak knees. Or I donʼt like people looking at my butt.

Still, if youʼre looking for a just-barely-this-side-of-Vatican-Ⅱ experience, this could be the place for you.

❖ ❖ ❖

Tom-foolery

Friday, September 3rd, 2021 Alive 18,392 days

Annie eating peanuts out of a can

I really should stop this tomfoolery. But I also want to find out if sheʼs dumb enough to get her head stuck in a peanut can.

❖ ❖ ❖

Just… wow

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 Alive 18,391 days

A screenshot of the NJ Family Care web site

I think I have found the worst government web site on the planet: New Jersey Family Care.

Its many technical faults aside, it looks like something a kid whipped up in Geocities in the 1990ʼs, not something dealing with healthcare. And certainly not something that taxpayer dollars paid for.

❖ ❖ ❖

Time for a break

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 Alive 18,390 days

Annie obstructing the use of my ThinkPad

Annie has decided that Iʼve done enough work for today, and I should turn my attention to smaller, furrier needs.

❖ ❖ ❖