2 years ago today, a freak hail storm went through our neighborhood and interrupted our peaceful lives. Patti, Hannah and I were at Wing Stop having dinner after leaving church. Weather was forecasting a storm but it wasn’t raining yet. As we were waiting for our meal the rain started, and the lighting, and the wind, and the thunder and then the hail. The storm itself didn’t last but a few moments but it seamed like an eternity. The rest of the kids were at the house and no calls were going through our cell phones. I decided to drive through that mess and try and get home. As i stepped outside my feet landed in a deep puddle of ice water. Traffic barley moved mostly because the roads were not visible. standing water, ice and steam from the water vapor made visibility nearly zero. Not to mention all of the debris on the road. Trees, traffic signals, street signs. It looked like a war zone. The vapor from the ice caused a eerie haze to peer it’s way through the headlights. It was like a scene from an armagaton movie. I finally got home. Everyone was safe and accounted for. The house took a beating. Every north facing window had to be replaced. The north part of the car port was ripped to shreds, the north side of the shed was shredded, the roof needed to be replaced, and every leaf on the trees were now on the ground. For McAllen, the storm was epic. Given the magnitude, the community is fortunate to have escaped with no serious injuries and no fatalities.  In all, 217 persons were rescued from being trapped in hail and wind damaged homes and flood waters, more than 1,000 homes and businesses were damaged, and more than 25,000 customers were without power during the peak of the storm.  According to the Insurance Council of Texas and verified by the Property Claims Service of the Insurance Services Office, insured damages tallied $260 million; total damage, including uninsured property, is likely tens of millions of dollars more. In all, 2,800 homeowners’ claims and 3,000 auto claims had been made by the end of 2012. The storm ranked 21st costliest in Texas since 1950 (in 2012 dollars).


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Church Fail

It’s no wonder Christians get a bad rap..

Bellow is a letter from the Cornerstone Reformed Church sent by “Pastor” Burke Shade;

which was featured in today’s FailBlog.

I suppose any organization has the right to remove members but I didn’t know that an organization possessed the keys to hell and heaven.  According to this organization’s own statement of faith, “sinners from every nation to be redeemed by the Holy Spirit, through the atoning death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ”  So they claim to believe that Jesus is the way to heaven but the letter seams to also state they they have a say so in that decision as well.

I can only thank God that He didn’t leave my salvation up to the thoughts and intentions of man.  If, a board could take a vote on my salvation- i’d be doomed.

and this book was called, Ha your gonna burn!




is this week over yet?

monday was like any other monday

tuesday i decided i was going to update the system documentation.  I keep a set of documents detailing all the network operations of this place.  what goes where, what it does.  routine task, backup procedures, who to call, just a saftey list for whoever has to fill in for me if i was out or something.

While i’m check out one of our main severs, i notice it has about 12 windows updates wanting to be installed.  ok fine, waited for the load to lighten during lunch and let the system restart itself.  got the alert that it was offline, waited, waited, waitied.. never got the “back online message” went back to the rack room and looked at the server, this server is a 6 disk RAID5 system.  One disk has failed back in october of 08 so i was already expecting to see 1 disk with a failure light on it.  but i wasn’t expecting to see 2 additional disk with failiure lights on them.  Back when the first disk failed, i told them.. well it will continue to run BUT.. i probably can’t handle another failure.  that could be catrostrophic.  Money was tight and they decided not to replace.  Ok fine, i started routine backups of that machine to another storage server. well.. a drive on THAT server started failing..  ok.. so i had one good backup on their but coudln’t risk losing  two servers in the same week so i stoped there. 

So back to tuesday, sure enough, the logicial drive was gone. 

Wed. i was able to get everyone  back on the other serve with data from nov of 08 but that’s the best i could do.  spent the entire  day listening to everyone complain about how much they lost.  i was now given the authorization to buy the replacement drives.  by the end of the day i felt like i had been ran over by a steamroller.  just want to go home

Thursday, heading to work, at the intersection waiting for the  light to turn, see one of those black mcallen “stealth” police cars pass me and then turn around behind me and turn on it’s lights.  so i turn at the light and pull over.  the lady walks up and my first response was “i’m pretty sure i wasn’t  speeding”  hand  her my licence and insurance, they ask me out of the car and radio in my info.  i’m chatting with her partner and being pleasant about the whole thing.  hey.. maybe if i’m not rude or ugly i’ll get off easy.  they both listen on the radio as my info comes back.. then they both change demeanor and start asking a whole bunch of other questions.  where were you born, what’s your social, do you have any tatoos?  is that knife on your belt.. I’m starting to get kind of worried but trying to still be cheerful.  the guy ask if i’ve ever been in the chicago area.  darn, i think to myself… i did get pulled over once at cornerstone, a few hours from chicago but that was forever ago and i thought it’d be off my record by now.  so i said yes.. and the guy reaches for his handcuffs.  ok.. cheerfullness gone, maybe i should cry.. that works for girls right?  anyway.. the short of it was they were looking for some guy who had a warrant for something bad in chiacgo who’s name or something matched mine.  she gave me a thermal print  out of a “ticket” with the only violation of expired registration.  didn’t get me for the expired inspection right beneath the registration or broken sidemirror.  so i drive right on over to the municipal court and hand the lady my thermal printout.  again very pleasent.  she told me if i get the sticker she can drop the charge from 75 to 20.  cool!  so i head to the tax place and  get in line, only to realize that i didn’t have the tax stub-reciept thing they send in the  mail, so i head back home to find it and i get a call from the office that  the internet is  downout there.  wierd.. ok   i  call san antonio  and they confirmed  it.  we already had  our 2nd  fiber outage for the year so that can’t be it.  i called my test number just to be sure.  yup.. it was out.

so i head to work and tried to get  everyone on to the backup system.  after another VERY long day finally got that up around 5. 

i’m ready for a vacation.


Friday June 12 came, and past.

I remember growing up at the ranch, the only TV stations available were the ones off the air.  Ch 4, ch 5, and 23 were the favorites.  44 and 60 if you were really bored.  As of yesterday afternoon, those analog signals were no more.  Ch 60 (KMBH) went dark back on  the original february citing complaints about not budgeting for dual operation and electrical cost.  Ch 23, KVEO went dark Friday morning, and KRGV and KGBT swapped  their analog signals to a loop telling viewers that they missed out and how to convert. Flipping through the analog dial though, you  can still see many Mexican signals though.  They may straggle, or possibly never convert.  Depends on who the FCC has sold the old frequencies to.

Here is another interesting date for you.  October 1, 1982.  That’s the date the first cd player went on sale.  The Sony CDP101.  The CDP101 went on sale for $1000 and compact disk sold for $16 to $18 twice the price of LP’s.  The New York Times wrote in March of 83

Some question where the audio-disc will succeed.  Even if prices come down – and the industry experts say it will – some analyst doubt whether consumers will be willing to sacrifice substantial investments in turntables and stacks of traditional recordings… The compact disk and player… is being likened in the music industry to Still, the CD’s effect on record makers, manufacturers of audio equipment, and most importantly the music-loving consumer will probably be more gradual than the two previous revolutions, according to analyst.

Customer Service (or lack thereof)

Is customer service just going to the toilet now a day?  Back in April of this year, i opened two trouble tickets with Sprint and T-Mobile.  Both carriers were having problems dialing our studios.  I first tried reporting the problem as a regular cell phone user.  “Hi, i’m having trouble dialing some numbers from my cell phone.  They work with my other cell phone but not with yours”  These conversations could last hours.  Stuff like “take out the battery and put it back in” “Are you in a remote area, under a bridge or tunnel?” “is their any bad weather out there”  Quite frustrating.  Most of the time, after several hours they would say something like the problem isn’t with us, it’s with the other carrier.   One of my favorite responses from t-mobile was “we can’t guarantee that calls will go through when you dial, it’s in your contract sir”

Perhaps I’m just spoiled and used to having problems resolved when i report them.  We have an amazing phone company here at the studio that has been unlike any service I’ve ever gotten.  I can literally email or call the director directly and get issues resolved pretty much immediately. 

Another company that has an amazing customer service track record is Fog Creek.  I wish more companies on my speed dial were like them.

So i finally had to get a hold of our national sales rep for both sprint and tmobile, send them a dissertation with my woes, they forwarded it to their engineers and finally got my sprint issue resolved and a phone call from tmobile this morning that was the most promising yet.  We’ll see how this goes.

Serenity now

The weekend was like any other.  Had a dept meeting with the media guys to talk about April.  It’s going to be a busy month for us.  Elaine Hollar is coming this month, The worship conference is this month.  we have a few upgrade and repair projects and just lots we needed to work on the calendar with them.  The worship conference group decided to have their meeting on the same day and i really wanted to get to find out what’s going on with that so i stuck around for that one and we just ended up combining the two together.  Romeo called that they wanted to go on a bike ride.  I had just gotten a cushion for my bike so i was ready to try it out. 

We ended up going to Santa Anna on their bike trail.  I had no idea it was 7 miles, one way.  I made it though.  I make the kids drag my lifeless body out of their so their was some motivation to keep going. 

Monday got to work, like any other day.  On my desk is a DSS station that gives me the status of our PBX network at a glance.  I keep an eye on all of the request lines, alarms, PRI channels, Copper trunks, etc. etc.  I walked in and 23 of the PRI channels were lit up.  PANIC!!!

Did some testing, had no RED alarms which meant the the physical line was up.  The smartjack didn’t indicate any problems either.  Rebooted our system to make sure it wasn’t just a quirk.  Still no luck.  Called the CLEC and they ended up finding the problem.  I got a free lunch out of it. 

On the way back to to the office i was on the phone with patti when i heard something odd.  Hung up and ended up finding out it was coming from my AC.  *sigh*

And then i’m back i the office and one of the vendors shows up and wants to fix another problem we’re having.  So we’re back their working on his stuff and someone else walks in asking if the network was down.  “Shouldn’t be” i said.  I was standing right in from of that smartjack and and i glanced over and saw the ALM light lit up.  *sigh* looked at my cell phone and no bars.  I’ve been through this enough times to know what it was.  Ever since we switched to smartcom our telephones have been unaffected by the biannual fiber cuts but everything else is subject to being isolated from the rest of the civilized world.  This one ended up being restored around 10pm. 

It was one of those Mondays.

This week has been stock show. it hasn’t been too bad this year. Maybe i’m just too critical. The George Strait fiasco has been interesting. i’m just glad i’ve gotten to stay out of that one.. at least as of yet. The short version, George is coming to the arena, the arena only holds 6000, the George Strait tour reserves 4000 tickets for it’s own sponsors, regardless of the venue (they are used to performing in 15,000+ sites. so. the short of it, that only left 2000 tickets for sell, which of course sold out in a mater of moments. Needless to say, a lot of people didn’t get to get tickets.

That could go under “Concert Fail” but “parking fail” was pretty funny too…


In a former life, i would probably rush at the chance to get to go.  Partly for the chance to get out of the valley.  out of the valley people.. or more specifically,stupid valley people.

not to mention the chance to experience the culture and the people and the people with culture.  and i absolutely love the city.  if i was living somewhere else, that would probably be where.

i’ll just have to live vicariously through them i guess.

Freaking Wankers: Bordefest

you know, i consider myself a tolerant person and i don’t typically use this medium as an outlet to bash people or organization unless they truly warent it.  those previously bashed by me on my website include the likes of

Verizion (GTEC legacy), Time Warner Cable RGV, Dairy Qween and the dumb sales manager at the civic center.

Any way.. so someone get’s this bright idea to do this treasure hunt contest.  which in theory isn’t such a bad idea, but the execution of the whole deal went way wrong.  Not sure who’s the blame on this one.. the city of hidalgo, the dodge areana or the marketing person for the dodge areana.  although i would be inclined to belive the latter of the three is reflective of all parties involved.  here in the office we have all been frustrated with her specifically and spent no small amount of time venting and trying to figure out if it was at all our fault.  it seams however that this reputation of her lack of foresight and proper execution is something that has followed her throughout her current and previous employment.  I don’t wish many people ill, but i would be strongly inclined to nudge this person in a new career path more suited to her abilities and strengths, none of which include marketing.

A few examples?  sure! This contest was sopoused to drive people to our websites to get certian information they could then use on the border fest website to provide exposure for the border fest sponsors.    People would listen on air for a code.  they would go to our site to get the link.  they would go to that link and enter the code and viola get to the page.  on that page they would search for the sponsors logos, count them up and at the end of the contest tally them and the first so many people would get entered for a prize.

sounds easy enough.  well, a few of the problems they had were, they didn’t give us the right links to post on our sites, they didn’t provide us all the sponsor logos until the day before execution, there rules stated that the code would be entered on their website but they were amusing we would have a code checker on our site, they didn’t have the code working on one particular day, they allowed previous links to be repeated, they used standard html for their links rather than a link generator with an expiration validator, on standard html rather than shmtl, they were posting their pages as graphics with no text so mobile readers could not see their pages, on the last day they had a picture of the email address people could mail their talley’s to to enter the contest rather than a submission form or database entry, and the last headache i’ve had to deal with regarding these people, the address they posted wasn’t even a working address.

What’s most frustrating all of these issues are beyond my control.  they are in the control of those people who have proven themselves time and time again to be incapable of pulling off a professional technical job.  Remember the night of WWE shortly after the opening of the arena out their.  I bought my brother some tickets and they went to find their seat and the seat didn’t even exist.  and the house sound system wasn’t working so they used the sound system i shipped with the radio station instead.  litterly, drove the b104 (back then it was still b104) van inside the arena and used the melfart system we had used for the “tailgate party” just hours before.   Or the time we tried to get them to allocate us an ISDN broadcast line no less than 5 times out their and they can never get the allocation right… or no less than 8 times we’ve tried to get a hardwired ethernet connection.. they don’t have any standard patching mechanism for their network drops, just terminated cat5’s running throughout- same color but some support the cash register system, some on the ticket system and some they don’t even know where they go.  if your going to have multiple system, have your cat 5 jacks mounted (not surface mount jacks laying on the floor with the sticky tack worn off) with labeled jacks on each port, terminated to a central wiring closet.  Then with your layer 3 switch patch each one to the proper VLAN.  what else can i complain about, oh trying to get an analog phone line out there.  “sure..we’ll give you one” they say.. and then then give us an analog port off of their PBX using a VoIP SIP trunk.  i’m lucky to get 1200bps on our codec equipment.

phew.. ok.. i’m done venting for now.  now i can get back to ignoring email from them.

oh yea, almost forgot the obiligory “freaking wankers”

moving up in the world

i was driving to work this morning and just about the time my exit was aproaching something caught my eye.  in the distant, the glow of an LCD sign. but not one of those car dealership signs.  this was a big one.  on a billboard post.  It was a 10×36 at least.  at last the valley is big enough for a digital billboard.  but in weslaco?  I was on the company’s website seeing if they had any others in the valley but that one didn’t even show up on the list.