Introduction to private blog posts

About a decade ago, I followed an RSS feed (yes, remember those?) called “The customer is not always right.” It was about the stupid situations and stupid people that customer service representatives would encounter on a daily basis. People who work in an industry that has a lot of human-to-human interaction are always bound to have some good stories of interactions gone terribly wrong.

I personally am terrible with human interaction. I intentionally go out of my way to do my own thing without having to deal with others. When I worked at the police department when I was younger, I was not a sworn peace officer so I had no obligation to interface directly with the public—a majority of my work involved staying in the office, then going to the dollar store with my sergeant to get candy and snacks. Even with my job now at Tempo Storm, I stay almost exclusively behind-the-scenes, and when someone needs something from me, I reroute them to someone who is better with human interaction. In fact, I am so well-hidden that most people don’t even actually know how to effectively reach out to me, so they don’t even have an opportunity to directly interact with me in the first place.

However, there is one particular situation where I do need to get involved in some direct human-to-human contact. Seeing as I’ve been with Tempo Storm since 2015 and I’m the longest-standing full-time employee, I tend to have some of the soundest judgment when it comes to company-related matters. I also oversee a lot of departments in a managerial sense, so the most extreme of situations generally tend to get escalated to me, no matter how hard I try to dodge them.

This means that, even though I don’t have a lot of “the customer (or employee) is not always right” kind of stories, the ones that I do have are on the utter extreme end. The stories that I do have are so far-fetched and so unbelievable that I feel like I’m doing the world a disservice by not telling them and sharing the absurdity and humor. Unfortunately, I obviously can’t publicly share these stories to the public because almost all of them involve con­fi­den­tial personnel matters, but I still feel like I’m committing a disservice by just keeping them to myself.

Because of this, I spent some time looking into WordPress’ private post feature and realized that it would be a good outlet for me to document these stories—not only so I can look back several years from now on the “good times” I’ve had, but also because a lot of them actually teach good lessons that future employees with appropriate security clearance can read and learn from.

And thus, the “Private” category was born. Blog posts classified under this category will all be password-protected with a unique, randomized string of letters, numbers, and special characters. All the passwords will be different, so I’ll be able to grant access to particular blog posts on an individual, case-by-case basis as appropriate.

I’m excited.




My one-day trip to Beverly Hills

Sunrise at Los Angeles International Airport

The photograph above is a picture of the sunrise at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), taken from the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. This is the last photo I took during my one-day trip, but I decided to lead with it because it’s the one and only photo I took on my real camera. Unfortunately, eve­ry­thing else I have is of potato quality from my ~6-year-old phone.

I feel like I should just go and get a real estate license at this point, because Tempo Storm is in the process of exploring other real estate options… which I am coordinating, of course. Back in November 2016, one of the first team houses that Tempo Storm set up was a group effort between me and the administrative assistant at the time. Since then, I’ve set up three more team houses, and this new property we’re looking at now will end up being the fourth that I lead myself (sixth total for the company). Each team house we’ve gotten has been an upgrade from the previous, and that trend isn’t ending anytime soon.

For this trip, I wasn’t able to spend 10 hours on the road round-trip because I was a bit too busy with other work, so I decided to fly this time. I flew out yesterday morning, making it into the airport by 5 AM, grabbing some free breakfast at the airport lounge, boarding the plane shortly after 6, and making it to Los Angeles before 8.

McCarran International Airport

Los Angeles International Airport

After arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, I realized that all the car rental companies were off-site, so I had to stand at a curb waiting for a shuttle to stop by and bring me just under three miles to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, which was where my car rental reservation was. After entering the lobby of the Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise to pick up an SUV, they queued me up to receive one of their Cadillac Escalade ESVs… except they couldn’t find the keys to any of them.

The first one that was most easily accessible in their garage was locked and just had the keys missing entirely. The second one that was behind another vehicle was unlocked and started up with its push-button start, except they couldn’t actually find the keys to this vehicle. Seeing as it started up, the key fob was definitely inside… they just couldn’t figure out where. Here is a photo of two customer service representatives flipping the interior upside-down trying to find out where the key fob was.

Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise trying to find the lost keys of a Cadillac Escalade ESV inside the vehicle

Eventually, they gave up and found a third Cadillac Escalade ESV that had its keys conveniently in the cup holder, and they gave me that one. It was a 2020 model, but I was able to see first-hand why Cadillac Escalades are often rated as one of the worst luxury full-size SUVs on the market today—they feel a bit dated compared to competitors. Enterprise comped me a half tank of fuel for the wait, which was nice, but I was only in town for a day and there was no way I would use 13 gallons of free fuel.

After I actually got on the road, picked up our CEO, and started going on tours, I forgot to take as many photos as I would’ve hoped, but I did take two from the Hills overlooking Los Angeles.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

After wrapping up the day, I spent the night at my cousin’s house, and the following morning, I was up by 4 AM, out the door by 5, and at the airport lounge having breakfast by 6—which is where we can loop back to the first photo above. I was on my plane by 7 and back home in Las Vegas before 9, thus concluding a hectic one-day trip to Beverly Hills.




My first flat tire

Remember how literally LESS THAN ONE WEEK AGO, I wrote a blog post about the clown fiesta that ensued when I tried to replace my broken passenger-side headlight? Where I tried a series of different configurations with two old bulbs and two new bulbs, and basically every possible con­fig­u­ra­tion wasn’t working, until suddenly something randomly worked out of nowhere?

During that blog post, I pointed out how, every time I drive to California, something goes wrong and my vehicle gets damaged in one way or another. The most recent instances were how my driver-side headlight went out, and after I replaced it, my passenger-side headlight went out during my follow­ing California trip. I concluded the blog post by saying, “hopefully the California gods don’t smite one of my headlights this time around so I won’t have to go through all this all over again.”

Well, my wish came true.

My headlights are fine.

Instead, I got a nail in my tire.

My first flat tire

I literally hate California




The Redondo Beach Hotel

I’m fairly certain this is the first time I’ve ever had a decent view from a hotel room.

I usually have the pleasure of staring out into the side of another building, or at best, an alleyway with an assorted row of dumpsters.

Redondo Beach




The clown fiesta that was replacing my broken headlights

I love bright white lights. I replace all my indoor light bulbs with 4000K pure white bulbs because anything less than that feels yellowish and “unclean.” Naturally, I did the same with my truck—I replaced the stock halogen headlight bulbs with LED conversion kits with a color temperature of 6500K. That’s generally considered about the color temperature of sunlight; anything more and it starts looking more blue than white.

GMC Canyon at Mount Charleston

(Yes, I realize my headlights aren’t actually on in that photo, but it’s one of the pictures that I had conveniently available, and I didn’t want to go all the way downstairs and out into the residential parking garage to take a new photo just for this post.)

Unfortunately, the LED conversion kit has been a bit of a pain. When I first got them installed, they worked fine, but after a few months, the driver-side headlight randomly went out while I was traveling in California. When I took apart the headlight assembly and yanked out the LED conversion kit, I realized that the orb-like piece that actually emits the light was completely gone. I sent the photo in and requested warranty service, and CarID gave me a replacement conversion kit.

Broken headlight LED conversion kit

Another handful of months later, the passenger-side headlight went out… coincidentally, it was doing another California trip back in early July. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, the GMC Canyon’s passenger-side headlight assembly is literally about 20 times more difficult to access than the driver’s side headlight assembly, so I literally didn’t bother trying to get it fixed until now. I don’t really drive around too much at night anyway, and on the one or two occasions that I did, I just drove around with one headlight and two fog lights on.

I have another California trip coming up towards the end of this week, so I wanted to get the broken headlight taken care of before I left for travel again. If things go as they historically have, another headlight is due to go out while I’m in California, and if I don’t repair the passenger-side headlight, then I will have no headlights driving around out-of-state. Also, while in California, I definitely will be driving around at night.

The LED conversion kit that I originally purchased off CarID was a few cents shy of $150, and it was a catastrophic failure of a product. This time, I decided to buy a much cheaper LED kit off Amazon from an Asian manufacturer (Asian manufacturers tend to make very cheap products that are sort of hit-or-miss—they are either absolute garbage or godlike good, and I’m obviously banking on these being godlike good). I ended up picking the BeamTech H11 LED Headlight Kit.

The driver-side headlight assembly is just a cover that you twist and open, but the passenger-side headlight assembly has two large plastic pieces block­ing access to the headlight. In order to even get in there, I needed a T15 screwdriver, which I did not have, so I bought the Powerbuilt 646017 Maxi-Grip Handle Star Screwdriver off Amazon along with my new headlights.

The two products arrived in the mail today, so it was time to get to work. The parking garage of the high-rise condo where I live isn’t very well-lit (nor do I think any parking garages on the Las Vegas Strip can really be considered “well-lit”), so I drove my truck up to the rooftop of the parking garage where it was uncovered and had direct sunlight. Luckily, I did this early enough in the day such that the temperature was only in the 90s Fahrenheit (Las Vegas has been under a heat wave lately and temperatures have easily gone over 110°F), but I was still dripping sweat by the end of this.

What ensued was a clown fiesta of things that literally should not have been possible.

Driver side Passenger side Result
CarID #1 CarID #2 Original configuration; driver side worked, passenger side did not
CarID #1 BeamTech #1 I replaced just the broken side and it still didn’t work
CarID #1 CarID #2 I put the seemingly broken bulb back in the broken side and it started flickering but wouldn’t stay on
CarID #1 BeamTech #2 I replaced just the broken side with the other new bulb and it still didn’t work
Empty CarID #1 I replaced the broken side with the bulb that was working in the driver side and it didn’t work anymore
CarID #1 Empty I put the working bulb back in the driver side and it stopped working
BeamTech #1 Empty I put one of the new bulbs in the driver side and it worked fine
BeamTech #2 Empty I put the other new bulb in the driver side and it still worked fine
BeamTech #2 BeamTech #1 I left the working driver side as-is and put the other new bulb in the passenger side, and it didn’t work
BeamTech #1 BeamTech #2 I swapped the two new bulbs on either side and both worked fine

Now keep in mind, the passenger-side headlight assembly is difficult to work with, and I couldn’t actually even get half the push screws out, so I was trying to manage my way through two massive bendy plastic protective pieces to even access the headlight connection each time. On top of that, in order to not get electrocuted, I was taking my keys out of the ignition each time I tested a new configuration, so I was literally pacing back and forth over ten times.

Ultimately, my headlights ended up working, seemingly out of sheer luck because the configuration that ended up working definitely was not logical based off my series of trials.

Hopefully the California gods don’t smite one of my headlights this time around so I won’t have to go through all this all over again.