Me, googledriving through Houston, heading south on Greenbriar: Okay, Woman’s Hospital of Texas on my right, the green space on my left. Good, good. Now I just need a clear view of both, so I can describe the hospital escape…
Google Maps Houston:
Me: Hmm, some Unidentified Construction Thingie is blocking the view. Maybe if I drive forward…
Me: Huh. Okay, no problem, I will just cross the street. Sometimes that helps.
Me: Here is the hospital, lovely, now I just need to turn around so I can see the other side…
Me: … Fine. I will drive down a bit.
Me: Seriously. I just need to see both sides. You know what, I’ll drive down to the damn intersection. How’s that?
Now if I just ease a little bit forward…
Gordon, coming home from taking the bulimic self-harming cat to get his steroid shot again: Hey, baby. How’s the writing going?
Me: I quit.
Houston: 6. Ilona: 0.
Janet Snyder says
You might want to go on Houston Metro’s website they might have the view already filmed. I work in Public Transit and we have tons of video from our routes. Just a thought.
I’ve prevailed. If you drive that street long enough, you can get an unobstructed view. It’s just fiddly. 🙂
Ah the days when you had to actually leave the house to do research. Now all you youngsters are using the new fangled internet to get all the details you need 😛
Our building in the Quarter is like that… some views still have the old paint and work trucks in the way, but if you fiddle with it just ~so~ you can see the updated (5 years ago) version. And the view from the corner/intersection at Chartres is really confusion because one foot one direction = old building colors and one foot forward = new… then one more foot either way is the opposite. It’s like magic old/new/old/new.
I know this has nothing to do with your comment, but I have to tell you how much I have always enjoyed your writing as well as Ilona Andrews. The Bobby Faye books are a SCREAM! So funny! I just wish I could still get the short stories that you had through your website at one time (I did, but a new computer/reformatting/reboot and they were history-sob!). Anyway just wanted to let you know that you are still appreciated and much missed!
Patricia Schlorke says
At least it wasn’t raining and the road flooded. 🙂
The last part sounds like something the Baylor family would say.
kate Johnstone says
I feel like the train? may now find itself written into things as a suitable inconvenience during a chase or escape of some sort.
Kelly M says
I can totally see that happening.
Maybe while being chased by a giant scorpion?
Came here to comment the same thing!
Yes! Death to the train!
Research! Research! How fascinating this is! Thank you for sharing this with us!
My Dani has/had a respiratory infection and back to the vet for a final checkup to make sure she’s clear on Thursday. Not looking forward to trying to get her into the carrier again. She’s really going to be unhappy after getting her rabies shot too but she has to be cleared before I leave town. Sigh. Is it as hard getting a vet appointment there as it is here? I had to take her to the ER because it was a 4 week wait for an office visit!
Exactly a week ago, my cat Cricket had a somewhat gruesome tail injury that had us running to the emergency vet… and ended up with her having most of her tail amputated. (She’s doing well, and is passed being super drugged up, which has reassured Keanu, her buddy, a lot. As soon as she’s being sassy and stubborn, he knows the world is going to be okay.)
…all of the home management side of this being complicated by my currently fostering three ridiculously cute fluffy kittens and their super sweet and friendly adoptive mom. (OTOH, all three kittens are going to be adopted together, I just found out last night! I really like keeping siblings together when possible.)
Kitten pics because mentioning kittens without posting seems wrong.
Many moons ago: My feral rescue kitten had a broken tail. The vet recommended surgery to dock the tail. The tiny stitches on the new end of her tail were like handsewn kid gloves from the 1890’s. And the fur grew back, so it wasn’t obvious that she’d had surgery, just born with a short tail.
When she was mad at me, she would smack my ankle with that short tail!!
The kittens are adorable!! So glad they will stay together!!
Good on ya, Keanu, for worrying about your sister! ????????????
Many get well wishes for Cricket!! ????????????
While Cricket had a particularly lovely and expressive tail, and long as she heals up well, I’m good. She’ll be an adorable bobtail.
She and Keanu are tight – I got them as similar aged kittens, so though they aren’t genetic siblings, they basically treat each other as sibs.
Amy Ann says
I have 5 foster kittens and their mom. Kittens are 12 weeks old now. I don’t know if I can give any of them up! I already have 2 permanent cats and 1 porch stray who comes and goes (he’s the one who brought the mom here). I had planned to keep the mom and the 2 boys who are each other’s shadows but now I’m having doubts about the rest. I need help! My family will disown me as a crazy cat lady.
Stay the course! Focus on matching them up with families who will love them and give them great homes, and how happy people and cats are with the right match. (A dear friend who adopted my last pair of fosters is posting pictures of them every day or two – and it’s so great to see them all doing so well!)
My ex kept adding cats – and wasn’t great about taking care of them, either, but that’s another story. So I’m all for holding the line on the number of permanent residents, and enjoying fostering and placing foster cats 🙂 (Also, fostering can be exhausting. OMG. Six cats in my house, if only for a few more days…)
Amy Ann says
Thanks. I have a couple of prospects and hope they pan out. I will keep them as long as it takes to find good homes for them. I won’t give them to just anyone. But it is going to be hard to give the rascals up.
And just to be clear – I meant focus on that because the joy of cats finding the right home, and people finding the right cats can be an antidote to losing them. I didn’t think you were going to give them to just anyone 🙂
Today the Squeak Squad goes to their new home. Bwah!
This is too funny. I had to do that for real, in person, 37 years ago, with two children in the car and a city map I looked at before leaving home. The “spaghetti bowl” of freeways totally blew me away. I am vastly amused that Google couldn’t get unobstructed images of the area. Houston is like that. I’m glad you found what you needed without leaving home. Good job! It’s too bad the aerial views don’t show details on the ground. It always amazes me to read what you go through to be sure you get things right.
if the street view has a history feature you can watch older versions and hopefully they don’t have a guest appearance by a street car. From the web: When you are on Google Street View, the area with the historical Street View feature will have a small clock icon on the top left corner, right below the address. Click on it and a small window that has a timeline you can drag will pop up.
K D says
the history view can be cool. You might get other seasons (doesn’t matter in Houston?), or mid-construction/pre-construction views.
Agree! History view is the best. I was recently using it to supplement a report and figure out what I was looking at in photos for a bunch of very similar columns. (light quality varied)
Luckily, someone tagged a column “Tim”. I am sure Tim will be horrified to know that his act of defiance helped me do my job. ????
I remember being little late to work once. My boss asked why I had not left earlier to account for traffic.
I told him I had left 30 minutes early, which would allow for 2 wrecks or a train. (a freight train, not mass transit) Unfortunately, I had encountered a train *and* 2 wrecks.
No more grief on that subject.
???????????? love this!
As always I’m in awe of your wonderful talent. Even more, I’m in awe of your patience. Wow!
You even make your most frustrating moments funny. Ty
Donna Short McBride says
It has been my experience that Houston always wins.
But some of the winning required banging on trashcans, it was cheating.
On the bright side, you can incorporate the public transportation into the scene in some hilarious way.
Sometimes it seems like roads and roadways are intelligent, with a program to frustrate as much as possible. That includes traffic lights – might have started with them.
I guess escapes on top of trains have been done to death lol… glad you prevailed !!
I remember my son (the new driver) using this Google maps feature to map out his driving adventures. Me:I hope this works better than my Google navigation. Often I feel like that meme, turn left and there’s a huge lake on that side. Granted GPS has improved over the years but I remember several situations being blocked or not available similar to these photos.
Once I sat at an intersection a few blocks away (S. Braeswood and Fannin) for more than 10 minutes without anyone going in my direction moving at all. Why? Because they don’t time the lights to the train and every time we should have had a green light a train was either there or nearly there so the light skipped us.
I have also driven and had the train mostly along side me for several blocks in several different places in Houston. I recently moved or I would be happy to go take research pictures for you.
That sounds horrifying!!!
Nancy Weaver says
Sounds like a realistic “oh crap” moment for the story line.
PS House Andrews does some cool reseach. I remember researching into guns and a safes for an Edge book. A butt ton of mini mansions for Baylor and some funny questionable houses in between . Looking up fatal medical injuries. Beats my nursing reseach classes!
Judy E Schultheis says
I’m not assuming the trip was wasted – for many of the reasons stated by other commenters. However, I do understand the level of frustration.
That’s hilarious. Curious now as to if public transportation is good in Houston. Would point to a good place to visit.
How good could the public transpo be if the trains are always at the hospital? 😉
Technology can be a fun rabbit hole, but not under deadline. *off to look at satellite view of this year’s beach house*
This is way off topic…so my auto update wiped out my bookmarks, so when I googled Ilona Andrews I got a bunch of overseas book covers, which got me thinking, is there a book cover gallery somewhere?
I’m not sure if there’s a book gallery on the blog. But like any proud mom, Ilona post them as they come out. I was curious and flipped though them on Amazon. I have to say other countries do a better job than the US. (Aside from IA’s self published work, always beautiful)
Sara T says
Jo Ann Robinson says
See that Houston traffic hasn’t improved in the last 2 decades.
Omg! Rolled with laughter! I grew up in outer Houston & that is just like being there in person. Haven’t lived there for years. Thanks for the trip “home”.
Lynn Thompson says
ROFLOL. Thank you, Ilona Andrews for the post. Where I live GPS has me placed quite a distance from where I actually am physically. My neighbors get lost delivery drivers as do I regularly. Google Earth is off too. My hypothesis is the ravines and old growth forest…. Anyway, I suspect Houston has sufficient skyscrapers to act as mountains/ ravines…. ????. Good luck in your quest.
Oh yeah. It’s always fascinating on Sunday mornings when “visitors “ discover they are at the Presbyterian church instead of the Baptist.
Geneva Salisbury says
Did you try in Apple Maps?
I checked the address and no train obstructing view.
I always use Google for street views and forget Maps has one also.
Satellite and street views were important when I traveled solo of 5 years in a small rv.
Keep up the good work you guys do.
Kat in NJ says
This reminds me of when I was a little kid visiting relatives in Blue Island, Illinois (just outside of Chicago.) When trying to get from Point A to Point B, my Dad would see a train approaching a crossing, and he’d quickly take a complicated series of turns on side roads to cross the tracks via other streets before the train got there. If we failed, we’d have to wait literally 30 minutes or so for the train to pass. Those were some looooooooooonnnnnggggggg trains!!!!!
Hahaha……funny. I love reading your blogs. Thank you for them.
Hilary Zanca says
I’m a nurse. I started as a level 1 trauma ICU nurse. I have battled Atlanta traffic in the middle of an ice storm. I have lived in Houston for 5 years, and began working at the med center downtown when I moved here. I love the high acuity ICU work. In time, I transitioned to a desk job. There are occasional days I miss the ICU, and then I remember downtown traffic.
I live a mile from there and the trains run every 7 minutes during the day. Evening is better when they slow down. Plus, TWH is right where Greenbriar, OST, Fannin and Knight are all making an interesting maze trying to get around the hospital complex and the mess of the Metrorail. This will be fun to read about in Ruby. I turn right off OST onto Bertner to go to work and pass the HCFSI where Catalina sees Alessandro again. So much fun to read about my hometown, the streets I drive daily, and the buildings. Your biggest car getaway problem on Greenbriar/Fannin by car is if you’re heading south towards 610 and plan on turning right on the westbound feeder road heading for the on ramp. Metrorail takes precedence and it can take 20 minutes trying to turn as a train is entering and leaving the south end of the line hub every 4 minutes. There are no turns on red, RR poles, etc. It’s the fastest way out of the TMC south unless you take OST east to 288 and can go downtown towards 59 north and south, 45 north and south, 288 north and south, and 610 east or west. So many options. Just don’t take Main or Fannin north or south or you can get stuck in a 6 block trench that week take 20 minutes to get out of. But there is a beautiful roundabout near Hotel Zaza that could be interesting. Montrose area around St Thomas heading north into The Heights and I-10….
I’m so intrigued by the possibilities surrounding the frustration of the parking lot expansion on Greenbriar.
looking at google earth images. our plant in delaware updated 2021 and is updated 1-2 year. Need a plot layout of another plant. Look at our plant in Mississippi. (started up 2017) Not pictured on google earth. 🙁 The googleverse is strange.
So is the metro transit going to make it into the book? 🙂
Ken Hughes says
Obviously the hospital has some kind of giant, disguised beast moving around to ensure their privacy. And the thing’s very well trained.
Great idea, ha ha!
Just for the future, both real estate companies and drone enthusiasts often fly over and around areas to film for marketing purposes. Sometimes a youtube search will lead you to a treasure trove of footage.
Thanks for the laugh! I hope this figures into one your books ????
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
The Google view of my house has a garage that fell down 3 years ago and my neighbor walking her dog, who died 12 years ago. And really, they have my address on the house next door. And Google Maps thinks I live 3 blocks up and down the road because there are 2 streets with the same name, one in the township and one in the village.
I always take Google with a grain of salt.
Oh no ????????????.
Bill G says
Susan Reynolds says
When I lived in Houston, I used to live at Kirby and Main in an apartment complex nestled between a seafood restaurant, a trailer park, and Otto’s BBQ. There was a strip joint with a 49 foot tall statue of a woman across the street, and you had to walk between her legs to reach the front door. Next to that was a White Castle hamburger joint, and next to that two decent Tex Mex family dining restaurants. There was also a pony ride on a vacant field across the way on Kirby. All gone now, according to Google Maps. The main thing I remember about Houston is the general lack of zoning, and the drivers who would pass you in the lane you had just signalled that you were merging into. I think my hardest cognitive dissonance with the books is that I went to Baylor college of medicine, and I keep mixing memories of biochem lectures with your heroines…..
I see someone else also mentioned it but thought I would give it a second mention. The new google earth platform has an excellent 3-D / 2-D function. There are still some distortion but it gives you an pretty accurate view from all angles.
Gail Siegel says
Welcome to the TMC, where you can’t get to what you see, even if you can see it!
Jade Bradford says
The view is trees with a odd looking V shape building in the background that is about 20 stories tall with a 2 story packing lot in the background. All nicely behind a fence a row of trees in front. (aka like the other side except for 2 story parking garage and a taller V building.)
My mother used to work in that building when I was about younger and in the yard between the fence and building they would set up a fair for the kids with bounding houses and games. Also, we used to park in the garage and walk to the rodeo through the winding streets all lines with trees and dark building with continuous alternating horizontal stripes of concrete and glass.
I really want more details on the bulimic, self harming cat. Is he/she going to be ok?? So many questions ????
Awww. Such luck you had! My memories of when they installed the trains in Houston were painful. So many people turning in front of and being hit by the trains. So glad Houston is mostly in my review mirror.
Donna D says
LOL…Oh, I miss Houston traffic so much! Great quick visit home. Thanks!!
I am visiting Albuquerque and am shocked regarding the traffic…there is none!!! Gotta love Houston traffic, where you can leave the house at 16 yo and by the time you arrive to your destination you’ve aged at least 3 years!!!
???? Ugh…this reminds me of my husband. He has bad luck, all the time. I didn’t believe it when we first met, but it’s a real thing!
Lol! Surprisingly, I’ve had some luck with Bing’s imagery when Google is out of date or just weird.
Oops! I am working on a project in med center so let me know if you need some guidance 🙂
I love how you turn frustrations into laughter.
As a class project about Paris, France, I wrote about a walk to the Red Mill. My source for the walk was Google. Two class mates one a Parisian and the other a frequent visitor thought I had actually walked the route. They were surprised I had never visited that great City.
Many major cities in the world have real time street-view cameras which you may access.
Vickie Loftis says
I took that exact street this morning dropping a kid off at summer camp. Let me know if you need descriptions! Or video. I can probably figure that out.
Tiffani Bertrand says
I am frequently in Houston because of a sick animal. Right now she’s going to the vet every 2 weeks for check ups. I live about an hour and a half outside the city. I would be happy to take pics of something that isn’t clear. It would be fun actually. I’ve read all your books so if there’s a chance to help/contribute, I’m all for it 🙂
I feel that way when i go to visit my son in Austin. I HATE 71! ????????????
Simon Hopkin says
Lol. Have you tried changing the date. One of the great things with google street view in the UK any way is you can see previous years photos. Maybe the trains weren’t in them 🙂
We just like seeing how places have changed :-D. Its an option at the bottom of the mini snap shot maps.
Lol, it figures that Houston’s traffic is frustrating even while googledriving.