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September 1st, 2017

Oh Texas

[Howdy, College Station! Ugh, did I just say that? Yes, yes I did.]

Flying in to College Station, it was interesting to see the state of the impacts along the edge of Harvey. This looks to me like the fringe of the storm:

Tattered edge of Harvey

Apparently TAMU closed for the first two days of classes, largely because a lot of the older buildings have serious leaks and it's just too much to deal with on top of managing the hordes of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed undergraduates.

Other than that, however, College Station appears to have weathered the deluge amazingly well. All the growing fields along the Brazos River have standing water, but there aren't any houses planted in those lowlands. I am sure the Villa Maria house got thoroughly flooded, but if its current occupant managed to dry out the industrial carpet in time I bet the place is generally fine. As fine as it could possibly be, considering it's a dump anyway. Basically, anyone living in that house would just need to prop everything up on shelves or stilts that are 4 inches high and then things would be fine in the long run.

I'm still very relieved I no longer live there.

Otherwise, it's nice to be back for a visit and get to hang out with my Texas family (not really family, just wonderful friends). J and K have moved completely across town into a brand-new house they bought. The construction quality of their new house is nice enough that I approve. I hope to see a compost pile and vegetable garden in the back, eventually, heh.

Thinking things over, I commented that if I had to choose between living here versus living in California, I think I'd actually choose Texas, believe it or not. People here were also somewhat surprised about some of my commentary on life in California. It can be difficult to really grasp what it's like to live in such a crowded area until one actually experiences it firsthand. But coming back here, I'm reminded of wonderful things like the Howdy Farm, which is teaching the next generation of organic Texas farmers. I am also observing some of the impacts of the general spread of foodie culture: an old Chinese grocery store is now a gourmet donut/coffee shop, for instance.

There are still a billion pickup trucks on the road, though, and very limited/nonexistent alt-transit options.

Still - there's a lot to recommend in these small/mid-size American towns. Life can be pretty good. Produce grown by small-scale farmers and trucked directly into town, instead of the massive organic production in California fed with terrible water supplies, picked just for you by prisoners, and meant to be trucked all over the nation. [that said, if I lived in Texas or any number of other Midwestern places I would go full-bore for water-catchement systems]

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