Tuesday, November 29, 2011

@christoperj:

With AA filing bankruptcy impacting thousands of DFW workers and travlers, wondering why WFAA leads w/ a story about a chihuahua on their webpage

Monday, November 28, 2011

@christoperj:

Back from Shreveport -- returning to regularly scheduled programming, already in progress

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What the Crap, FedEx?

It's one thing to 'dump and run' your deliveries to my house. Dumping the package at the door, no matter how big -- and just marking it delivered without even bothering to ring the doorbell. Or leaving it out in the open, rather than hiding it behind the brick entry wall or under the mat.

But seriously? Leaving the FedEx Standard Overnight envelope in the bushes next to the sprinkler head without any cover? And 20 feet from the door? It couldn't even be seen from the doorway where your guy dropped it. What was the point of that?

I wasn't home when the envelope was delivered, but if your driver can't even drop it off at the door -- then im guessing he probably didn't take the extra 60 seconds to ring the doorbell and check.

I very much realize that your team is under significant pressures to ensure all packages are delivered timely and doing that requires a constant urgency in everything your drivers do. Its the nature of your business. And it makes sense.

That said -- your business also requires guaranteeing safe delivery of what is being sent. And that's what you seem to be missing.

You fail this requirement by dumping shipments where they can be easily seen/pilfered by the neighborhood at large. And you fail it again by dumping it where it could be easily damaged/destroyed by water.

Your team provides a quality service moving millions of packages across great distances in hours, if not days. A very impressive feat of logistics well executed. So why the crap is the last mile such a constant problem for you.

I was lucky this time that the FedEx envelope was neither stolen nor waterlogged. But when I see 'shipping options' next time, I'll remember that I'm tired taking the chance.

The paper FedEx envelope in the bushes next to the sprinkler head.
The paper FedEx envelope in the bushes next to the sprinkler head.

The FedEx envelope not seen from the front door
The FedEx envelope not seen from the front door

Same view in the morning
Same view in the morning

Hmm, that mat might be a good place to hide an FedEx envelope. Or maybe behind the brick entryway. Perhaps thats too obvious
Hmm, that mat might be a good place to hide an FedEx envelope.    Or maybe behind the brick entryway.   Perhaps thats too obvious

Dried Up Lake Lavon

Returned from Shreveport via the back roads and was taken back by how low Lake Lavon has gotten in this year's drought. The lake was always flooding back in the Wylie days, and we were always told to be weary of SH78 washing out. Nowhere near that problem now.

I've never seen it it this low and wasn't expecting to see how desolate the area looks. We're going to be screwed next year if we don't get more than a little rain over the winter

Looking west from Collin County Road 559 towards Lake Lavon, I doubt this section has been underwater for months. The dead tree stumps are remains from the expansion in the mid 70's
Looking west from Collin County Road 559 towards Lake Lavon, I doubt this section has been underwater for months.   The dead tree stumps are remains from the expansion in the mid 70's

Looking SW towards the US380 bridge. The lake used to come to where I am standing, but the shoreline has receded to several thousand feet away
Looking SW towards the US380 bridge.   The lake used to come to where I am standing, but the shoreline has receded to several thousand feet away

Looking NW across the desolation
Looking NW across the desolation

East towards Farmersville across the dried up lakebed. The ground must be very dry, based on the ATV wheel ruts
East towards Farmersville across the dried up lakebed.   The ground must be very dry, based on the ATV wheel ruts

Due south down CR559. Never seen these bridge pillars totally exposed to the ground
Due south down CR559.   Never seen these bridge pillars totally exposed to the ground

The water marks from previous lake levels are clearly visible on the pillars
The water marks from previous lake levels are clearly visible on the pillars

Very shallow lake water just south of the US380 bridge
Very shallow lake water just south of the US380 bridge

More dried up lake bed just south of the US380 bridge
More dried up lake bed just south of the US380 bridge

...

The shallow East Fork of the Trinity flowing into Lake Lavon from the US380 bridge
The shallow East Fork of the Trinity flowing into Lake Lavon from the US380 bridge

...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

@christoperj:

If you think it's appropriate to use weaponry at a Black Friday event, it might be time to take a step back. . .

Friday, November 25, 2011

Caddo Parish Courthouse Christmas Lights

Walked back to the Robinson Film Center the night after Thanxgiving and found the Caddo Parish Courthouse all lit up in Christmas Lights

Some oversized ornaments in the oak trees lit up with Christmas lights
Some oversized ornaments lit up with Christmas lights

...

The front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse lit up with lights and fake Reindeer. Good thing there arent any hunters in Louisanna. Oh crap
The front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse lit up with lights and fake Reindeer.   Good thing there arent any hunters in Louisanna.  Oh crap

...

...

...

...

My Wife and Inlaws walking down Texas Street not noticing I had stopped to take a couple of photos
My Wife and Inlaws walking down Texas Street not noticing I had stopped to take a couple of photos

...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

@christoperj:

Resisting the urge to call CPS on the lady who has been camping out with her 4yo kid in front of a best buy for black friday discounts. . .

Monday, November 21, 2011

@christoperj:

Ah, Rain, Finally. . .

@christoperj:

Apparently we have some classless hunters in the area, as theres a beheaded deer on the side of the road @ exit 74 on IH35W. . .sigh. . .

@christoperj:

Dreary, Foggy, Monday

Monday, November 14, 2011

@christoperj:

Back in Town and Returning to Regularly Scheduled Programming, Already in Progress

Saturday, November 12, 2011

@christoperj:

Um, apparently DFW Aiport bought some possessed machines to take the money from Remote North Parking Lot customers. (Or somebody at ACS has a weird sense of humor). . .

Um, thanx
Um, thanx

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Views from Hotel Rooms -- Fairfield Inn, Spring Valley, NY

This Fairfield Inn is oddly located behind a Target store and had um, views of the parking lot, a tree line, and the New Jersey Transit Pascact Valley Commuter Rail Line (somewhat hidden behind a Green Fence that didnt particularly mask either the sight or sound of the trains). . .

Early shot of the clouds and houses hidden behind the treeline. . .
Early shot of the clouds and houses hidden behind the treeline. . .

Quoting the Wife -- "It's nice how the pretty foliage leads the eye away from the dumpster propped open with the big stick"


The NJ Transit Pascack Valley Commuter Line runs behind this green fence. It was loud, but I kinda enjoyed seeing the random train come through. Thankfully, the trains were short and didn't include any freight traffic
The NJ Transit Pascack Valley Commuter Line runs behind this green fence.  It was loud, but I kinda enjoyed seeing the random train come through.   Thankfully, the trains were short and didn't include any freight traffic

Later shot of the same houses
Later shot of the same houses

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Huh, That's New

Never felt an earthquake in Texas before. Not the big Virgina one a few months back. Not the Cleburne 100+/- miles SW a few years ago that ended up being related to the Barnett Shale gas fracking. Been out to California and Alaska several times, never felt one out there either.

Felt this one, though.

In North Denton, we felt (and heard) 3 very mild rumbles through the furniture @ 10:53P.  The whole thing lasted only about 15 seconds and other than saying "what the hell was that?" -- really just thought it was Ace aggressively addressing an itch by rubbing against it with his oversized Aussie Shepherd frame.  Didn't think much of it beyond that.

But it didn't feel right. Looked down and noticed Ace was a good 3 inches away from being able to do anything like that. Wondered for a moment where the other two minions were and noticed that they didn't react to whatever had just happened.

Then looked up and saw the ceiling fan chains swinging gently. Checked the heater to see if it was blowing. Wasn't. But the ceiling fan chains in the other room were swinging at the same rate.

Didn't hear about the Oklahoma earthquakes until I went out to the USGS website checking to see if the earth had opened up somewhere in North Texas and saw the reports coming from Shawnee.

Very surreal experience.

@christoperj:

Felt an earthquake in Denton around 1053P. . . Thats new

Friday, November 4, 2011

American Airlines Steps Up Their Customer Service Game

After getting stuck in Philly airport tuesday night waiting for a new plane to replace the original MD83 with the bad pitot tubes, AA (without any call to Customer Service) sent me this today today.

Impressive.

My last several trips have been particularly bad with AA. All but one of them has had a significant delay. Of those, 70% have had a flight leg fully canceled. And most of those cancellations have been mechanical issues. There's nothing quite like sitting at a gate, looking out the window, watching the mechanics tear apart the engine. Kinda glad when they cancel the flight when that happens, but when I see it, I always wonder what it would be like to fly on an airline that doesn't rely so heavily on 30+ year old airplanes.

I'm getting tired of being stuck at airports (particularly Newark/EWR) because AA can't keep their aircraft in the air. They simply can't replace them fast enough.

But this latest incident was particularly well handled. They kept us up to date on what was going on -- both on the plane and at the gate. Usually within 5+/- min after (and sometimes before) the automated AA Status Updates were sent out. And they did it when it a sympathetic smile no less.

They put as many people as they could on the US Airways flight to DFW 2 gates down. Many of those passengers were catching international connections and AA Gate Agents acted proactively and transferred them over from our flight while we were all still sitting on the plane waiting for the mechanics to figure out the problem. Never seen that happen.

And they had a gate agent in DFW waiting with information and hotel vouchers for those on the plane who had to be rebooked for the next day. I've come in late on delayed flights several times in the last few years -- can't remember the last time I saw a gate agent actually waiting to help with disrupted plans either.

AA corporate seems to work harder on their marketing message than they do their employee relations. A decision resulting in a significant service level decline in recent years.

Hopefully this is a sign that they have finally found an internal balance and a sign of better service to come.

From: American Airlines
Date: Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Subject: About your Recent Flight: A Message from American Airlines R2011/11-04
To: Christopher J. Marcinko


November 4, 2011

Dear Mr. Marcinko:

We know that the delay of your recent flight was an inconvenience to you (not to mention disruptive to your travel plans), and we apologize. At the same time, we'd like to offer a more tangible gesture of our concern. Accordingly, we've credited your AAdvantage® account with 5,000 bonus miles. This mileage adjustment will be visible in your account in just a few days. You can view your account via http://www.aa.com/aadvantage .

Thank you for flying with us, and for your business, which we never take for granted.

Sincerely,

B. J. Russell
Customer Relations
American Airlines

This is a one-time email being sent to you in relation to your recent experience with us, and it is not a marketing message. It does not represent a change in any privacy options that you may have with American Airlines. For security purposes and to protect your privacy, our process does not allow for replies to this message. If we can assist you further, please let us know by clicking www.aa.com/customerrelations .

Thursday, November 3, 2011

@christoperj:

Back home after 6 hours of flight delays, and returning to regularly scheduled programming, already in progress. . .