How Did I Get Here?

I’m sitting here at the counter running a resale co-op on Main Street Houston.  How did I get here?

I’m a computer scientist by training, and my working career starts quite a ways back, but I was trying to do iPhone apps full time up until February of this year, when it became apparent that the income stream there was not gonna hack it.  I was in a similar situation in 2002, and I showed up at the Continental Club and helped Pete build the Big Top.  So, this time I came over again to see what was going on.

I was vaguely aware that the 3600 block of main had something going on, so came to see if I could get some mortgage money.  It turned out that the block had been obtained by a small group of investors, some directly involved in the Continental Club, some not.  The old building across from the Continental has been mostly boarded up since they moved in in 2000.  Labor Ready was here for maybe a year, before that other portions of the building had been office spaces.

They thought they were going to tear down the building, but first they gutted it.  When they took out the drop ceilings, they exposed an amazing wood roof supported only by piers in the middle of the building and wood trusses.  So, they decided to renovate it.

When I started working here in March, the place was partially framed; you could pretty much walk freely through the interior.  The plans for a while have been: a restaurant, a resale/vintage shop, a retail shop, a coffee shop, another retail shop (which ended up being Sig’s Lagoon’s new location – moving from the Continental Club building to here), and a combo barber/salon/tattoo shop.

I did various construction jobs here, mostly finish carpentry and fitting and placing windows.  The octagonal windows on Natachee’s (the not-yet opened restaurant) are my favorites.

When we got close to finishing out some of the spaces, the previous management plans for the vintage resale co-op had untangled.  Bob asked me if I’d like to own and run it.  It’s totally out of my realm of experience, but I’ve come to love this block (in the last 10 years), love the vibrancy of the light-rail city scape, and can totally see how great this are can be.  I want to be here and watch it grow into its potential and this seems a great way to do that.

So, though I have no experience directly in Resale, Vintage, or Retail, I think I have plenty of experience in Life and I’m leaning on that for my help in the new venture.  And a few other people who know what they’re doing. Every day is interesting and new, at least so far.

I almost called it Shirleyville, which I wasn’t too fond of for making it about me (it’s more about the vendors we’re getting in to me), but we ended up with Shop-o-Rama.  So, come visit when you can!

I do plan on resuming part-time iPhone development in the future.  But for now the hours I’m covering here only allow minimal effort in that regard.

New Venture

I’ve been working construction for months in an old building in Midtown, mostly installing, framing and trimming windows, with a variety of other miscellaneous tasks.  Once it’s open I will be managing one of the stores.

There was an article on the front page of the Sunday Business section of the Houston Chronicle.  Included below:

Midtown’s Continental Club is known for its live music and comfy Texas roadhouse feel.

The club, it turns out, is also an incubator for entrepreneurs who will soon open their doors one block away from the club at 3600 Main on Metro’s light rail line.

Most of the 3600 Main retailers have Continental Club connections: One tends bar and several play music there. Two helped build the club and another lives upstairs.

The soon-to-open shops at 3600 Main will not be mistaken for Highland Village. The barbershop Big Kat’s, for example, will feature a tattoo parlor with a 1940s sailor theme. Most stores will have a retro feel.

When Metro rail passengers look out the window, they may glimpse burgers grilling, a band playing and people dancing on the big patio of comfort food restaurant Natachee’s.

Continue reading New Venture

Street Viewed

I was working outside at 3622 Main this week, on a ladder, painting the trim on the windows I’ve been putting in.  I caught something out of the corner of my eye, a stalk on top of a car.  I initially suspected it was an art car, so glanced that way to see which one.  Instead, it was a Google Street View car.

Of course I couldn’t have been heroically lifting the glass into the window frames as I had been the previous day.  I was just painting them.  So, keep an eye on Street View and let me know when my back side shows up.

In My Brain

So, this was some debugging output that I was going through yesterday. My whole day was like that. And this particular one, pointed me toward one of my problems.

Rr2rrrrrrrrrBCDrr1w3wwww8wwwwwDww
"10-14" = Wr2rrrrrrr0rBCrrr1w3wwWw8wwwwwDww;

"15-19" = Wr2rrrrrrrrrBCDEr1wrwwWw8wwwwwDww;
"16-19" = Wr2rrrrrrrrrBCDrF1wrwwWw8wwwwwDww;
"8-12" = Wr2rrrrr8rrrrCDrr1w3wwWw8wwwwwDww;
"9-13" = Wr2rrrrrr9rrBrDrr1w3wwWw8wwwwwDww;
"9-14" = Wr2rrrrrr9rrBCrrr1w3wwWw8wwwwwDww;

Yes, this is what I do during the day.

Got a Job: FlipSide5

I recently left my internal enterprise programming position at ambulance manufacturer Frazer, located in southwest Houston. I am now currently working with FlipSide5 on iPhone application development. Two of the main guys there are old NeXTstep programmers I worked with at FannieMae in the mid 90s and in a software development tools company, Inline Software, in the late 90s.

They are both based in Northern Virginia. I am, of course, in Houston. Though I will be traveling out there for a week to do some work and reconnect with Mike and Mike. I may be head-down in the code so much that I don’t get to revisit the city of Washington that I lived in for two years. But hopefully I get that chance soon.

And, in honor of a new job making crumbs, I give you They Might Be Giants:

12 Mile Commute

I’m getting used to my commute.  It’s the longest commute I’ve ever had (NASA: 3 miles, WilTel: 5 miles, PanCanadian: 2 miles, FannieMae: 5 miles, InLine: 0 miles, Abraham Watkins: 3 miles).

It’s odd in that the freeway seems quickest in the morning, and the surface streets in the evening.

But I have lots of podcasts that I don’t have time enough to listen to as it is, so an hour in the car a day is giving me that.