The Power of Asking

I’m not the inspirational type of writers; I leave that to the legions of others far better suited.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that…

You never know unless you ask.

Case in point:

Here’s a college student, apparently a decent enough musician in his own right, attending a Q&A with the legendary Billy Joel. He has a dream to accompany the Piano Man. So what does he do?

He asks.

This can apply to just about anything!

  • Interested in a new role at work? Ask about it.
  • Interested in someone and want to get to know them better? Ask them out.
  • Interested in starting a side hustle but don’t know where to start? Ask a trusted mentor/colleague/friend.

Yes, you might be rejected and you may just fail. But you’ll learn throughout the process, and it will put you in a better position to try again.

It’s amazing how a simple word can change your life.

One World

There would be no such thing as extremism in the world if people knew their heritage.

One Year Without Soda

I’ve never been a huge New Year’s resolution guy. I set goals for myself, but I rarely do yearly resolutions.

One of my personal goals for 2016 was to give up sodas for good. I had made goals in the past to cut back.. some of which were successful. But there were always reasons (read: excuses) where I ended up back to drinking them at the same quantity and frequency.

2016 was different. The desire was there, so I challenged myself to finally remove them from my life.

Flash forward one year, and I’m happy to say I was successful. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, and there were a couple cheating instances. 🙂 But as time went on, it became easier and easier. Surprisingly, it was easier than I thought it would be, and I don’t even miss them.

Do I drink any soda at this point? Not really.

The only soda I drink now is mixed with alcohol as well as the random Slurpee outing with my daughters. Because who doesn’t like a Slurpee every now and then!?

#prayfor

With all of the recent happenings, this Garth Brooks song resonates.

This ain’t comin’ from no prophet
Just an ordinary man
When I close my eyes I see
The way this world shall be
When we all walk hand in hand

When the last child cries for a crust of bread
When the last man dies for just words that he said
When there’s shelter over the poorest head
We shall be free

When the last thing we notice is the color of skin
And the first thing we look for is the beauty within
When the skies and the oceans are clean again
Then we shall be free

We shall be free
We shall be free
Stand straight, walk proud
‘Cause we shall be free

When we’re free to love anyone we choose
When this world’s big enough for all different views
When we all can worship from our own kind of pew
Then we shall be free
We shall be free

We shall be free
Have a little faith
Hold out
‘Cause we shall be free

And when money talks for the very last time
And nobody walks a step behind
When there’s only one race and that’s mankind
Then we shall be free

We shall be free
We shall be free
Stand straight, walk proud, have a little faith, hold out
We shall be free

We shall be free
We shall be free
Stand straight, have a little faith

We shall be free

Goodbye 2015

What a year it has been; a year of change both happy and sad, personally and professionally, expected and unexpected.

Amid change, I always try to keep positive and look on the upside of the situation versus the downside. It helps keep attitude, mindset, and emotions in check, and I strongly believe in forward thinking as well as focusing on the good in everything.

So here’s to 2015 and, more importantly, a great 2016.

As Kidd Kraddick closed his morning shows:

Keep looking up.. cause that’s where it all is!

Goodbye Trailblazer

A couple weeks ago, we went to San Diego on a half vacation / half business trip. A huge thanks to Ben & Joel for agreeing to let my family come along!

Knowing that we’d be driving to San Diego and Orlando this year, we took my Trailblazer in to have the AC fixed as well as have 100,000 mile maintenance performed. As that work was being completed, the mechanics discovered something wrong with the front axle as well. All in all, we spent about $1700 getting my car ready.. and that’s on top of the $800 we spent on new tires back in May.

All goes well on the San Diego trip of course.. right? Of course not.

Halfway through the first day of travel, both Monica and I start thinking the air just isn’t being pushed out strong enough. It’s cool enough, but the pressure just isn’t there like it should be. Once we get to our destination for the first day, I call the local Chevy dealership to see if they can get it in. Nope, they can’t — not until 5 days from then. Well that obviously won’t work, so I call a dealership in San Diego and they said they’d be able to look at it if we have the car to them first thing in the morning. The only problem is that we’re 12 hours away from San Diego still, so we decide to let the girls swim, eat some dinner, and then pull an all-nighter.

Along the way, we start hearing a sound like something’s hitting the car. At first I thought it might be the antenna coming loose, but that wasn’t it. I look down at the front passenger side tire and notice a plastic part of the wheel well had come loose and was coming in contact with the tire. Plastic + Rubber ≠ Good. So I try to put the plastic part back to where it won’t hit the tire anymore, but it still does. So we pull over again at a gas station. I bought a bungee cord and rigged the plastic part to the front bumper so that it wouldn’t hit the tire anymore. In that process, Monica starts looking at the front bumper and we realize that it’s not completely affixed to the car!

Needless to say, the last few hours to San Diego were a bit nerve wracking. As we’re driving, Monica and I decide that we’re just not trusting of the car anymore and that we don’t want to put any more money in a car with 111,000+ miles on it. The mechanic we had do the 100k maintenance found something else wrong.. what if this dealership found something too? We just decide to cut our losses. I drove the car to a few local dealerships and found one to buy it. We rented a car for the drive back home. A HUGE thanks to my dad for spending so much time locating the title to the car for us. We really did know where it was.. too bad it was the third place we knew where it was..

Selling my Trailblazer was bittersweet for a couple reasons. It was the first vehicle Monica and I bought together. While minor in the end, it’s still a little sad!

More importantly, both Katie Lynn and Karyn were brought home from the hospitals in my Trailblazer.

Katie Lynn:

Karyn:

A car is just a car, but I’m definitely going to miss my Trailblazer. That being said, I’m very excited about my new vehicle! More info on that coming soon..

A Lesson In Customer Service

Three and a half years ago, Monica and I purchased Katie Lynn’s crib set from Babies R Us. We thought we were being smart by purchasing the crib that would grow with her.. from a crib to a toddler bed to a full size bed. We special ordered the full mattress rails and conversion kit at that time.

Flash forward to about three weeks ago. We bought new mattresses for everyone in the house: a new queen set for Monica and me, a full set for Katie Lynn, and a twin set for Karyn’s upcoming transition this summer. The mattresses were being delivered on a late Saturday afternoon, so Monica and I begin to covert Katie Lynn’s toddler bed into the full size configuration. And of course, there’s a problem. The rails don’t seem to look like the ones in the instructions, and there aren’t enough screws to actually assemble the rails to the headboard and footboard.

Great.. now what? At that point, we believed the situation was one of two possibilities:

  1. We received the wrong rail conversion kit.
  2. We received the right set but some of the parts were missing.

I decided to call the store where we originally purchased the rails to see what, if anything, they could do. In the end, they offered to special order another set of rails for us and they would simply swap them out.

That’s incredible given the fact that we had purchased the rails 3.5 years earlier. There was absolutely no hesitation on their side. Even more surprising was that they still had our order in their system, so they knew exactly what we ordered and what stock/part number they needed to special order.

In the end, we did actually receive the correct rails but there were some screws missing. Once we got the new set the bed assembled like a charm.

It’s refreshing that a company would do this for a customer. To the team at the Plano, TX Babies R Us — thank you. Customer service done right.

Old Navy: You’ve Lost a Customer

Old Navy, listen up. You need to rethink your return and exchange policies.

Scenario: Katie Lynn received a pair of Old Navy boots for her birthday. Unfortunately, they were too small, so we figured it’d be an easy enough switch at our local Old Navy store even though we didn’t have a receipt or gift receipt. Silly us.. why would it be easy?

Again, let me reiterate – we wanted an even exchange for the SAME EXACT item in the SAME EXACT color.. only a bigger size. But no, we weren’t allowed to do that. Instead, we have to wait 7-10 days for a check from Old Navy to be mailed to our house.

That is asinine. Now, if we had wanted a refund, I would be completely okay with having to wait for a check. I have absolutely no problem with that. But we simply needed a different size, and Old Navy would have been out absolutely nothing.

If Old Navy wishes to get my business again in the future, they better reevaluate their policies to be more consumer friendly or else risk getting placed in the same category as Target.

Today’s Free Grammar Lesson

Okay, this may come as a shock to some of you (likely not), but I’m a huge grammar freak. Adults should be able to remember the basics from elementary school. With that in mind, Mr. Sepper’s class is now in session.

Apostrophes

  • Apostrophes serve two purposes: to show possession and for contractions. Apostrophes do not indicate plurality!

For example: if referring to more than one book, you would write books not book’s. In hosting, when referring to more than one IP addresses, you would write IPs and not IP’s.

there / their / they’re

  • “There” should be used when referring to a place either directly or indirectly.
  • “Their” should be used when possession is involved.
  • “They’re” should be used in place of “they are”.

For example: They’re all over there by the tables with their iPads.

your / you’re

  • “Your” indicates possession.
  • “You’re” is a contraction for “you are”.

Example: You’re holding your iPhone.
NOT: Your holding an iPhone.

too / to / two

  • “Two” obviously is the number 2.
  • “Too” means both “additionally” and “excessively”.
  • “To” is used as an infinitive,  a preposition, or an anaphor.

Examples:
I like OS X too!
Where should I send this laptop to?

I could go on, but I think that’s enough for this rant.

There’s the bell.. class dismissed.

Isn’t Comodo About Trust?

Hmm, what is Comodo doing to get blocked by mod_security on my server? 😉

Time: Sat May 8 13:02:48 2010 -0500
IP: 91.199.212.132 (GB/United Kingdom/secure.comodo.net)
Failures: 5 (mod_security)
Interval: 300 seconds
Blocked: Yes

Log entries:

[Sat May 08 13:02:44 2010] [error] [client 91.199.212.132] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 501 (phase 2). Match of “rx ^((?:(?:POS|GE)T|OPTIONS|HEAD))$” against “REQUEST_METHOD” required. [file “/usr/local/apache/conf/modsec2.user.conf”] [line “38”] [id “960032”] [msg “Method is not allowed by policy”] [severity “CRITICAL”] [tag “POLICY/METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED”] [hostname “box.mywebhostingserver.com”] [uri “/”] [unique_id “S@WnREZVvAIAADwSLYIAAAAA”]

[Sat May 08 13:02:44 2010] [error] [client 91.199.212.132] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 501 (phase 2). Match of “rx ^((?:(?:POS|GE)T|OPTIONS|HEAD))$” against “REQUEST_METHOD” required. [file “/usr/local/apache/conf/modsec2.user.conf”] [line “38”] [id “960032”] [msg “Method is not allowed by policy”] [severity “CRITICAL”] [tag “POLICY/METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED”] [hostname “box.mywebhostingserver.com”] [uri “/”] [unique_id”S@WnREZVvAIAADwZijYAAAAF”]

[Sat May 08 13:02:44 2010] [error] [client 91.199.212.132] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 501 (phase 2). Match of “rx ^((?:(?:POS|GE)T|OPTIONS|HEAD))$” against “REQUEST_METHOD” required. [file “/usr/local/apache/conf/modsec2.user.conf”] [line “38”] [id “960032”] [msg “Method is not allowed by policy”] [severity “CRITICAL”] [tag “POLICY/METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED”] [hostname “box.mywebhostingserver.com”] [uri “/”] [unique_id “S@WnREZVvAIAAFBAUA4AAAAH”]

[Sat May 08 13:02:45 2010] [error] [client 91.199.212.132] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 501 (phase 2). Match of “rx ^((?:(?:POS|GE)T|OPTIONS|HEAD))$” against “REQUEST_METHOD” required. [file “/usr/local/apache/conf/modsec2.user.conf”] [line “38”] [id “960032”] [msg “Method is not allowed by policy”] [severity “CRITICAL”] [tag “POLICY/METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED”] [hostname “box.mywebhostingserver.com”] [uri “/”] [unique_id “S@WnRUZVvAIAAFBCUSMAAAAI”]

[Sat May 08 13:02:45 2010] [error] [client 91.199.212.132] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 501 (phase 2). Match of “rx ^((?:(?:POS|GE)T|OPTIONS|HEAD))$” against “REQUEST_METHOD” required. [file “/usr/local/apache/conf/modsec2.user.conf”] [line “38”] [id “960032”] [msg “Method is not allowed by policy”] [severity “CRITICAL”] [tag “POLICY/METHOD_NOT_ALLOWED”] [hostname “box.mywebhostingserver.com”] [uri “/”] [unique_id “S@WnRUZVvAIAAFBDUiIAAAAJ”]