New-ish Chapter?

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So at the push of a friend and the Mrs. I’m submitting my application for a job in the morning. Something I haven’t done since I was let go when the local company I worked for was purchased by a BIG company, and at the time they did offer me a position in Reno but wasn’t a fit that I felt right for me, thus after an extra week or two, I was fully let go.

Fast forward nearly 6 years of consulting, hosting, touch of graphic design and a lot of working for a meal later 😀 times once again are changing and while I have a few things on the docket, this is one that I once again would enter the IT Director position but at a much larger scale – sure one could say when you work on servers which power sites on the internet you work for a WORLDWIDE set of people, let’s be honest, it’s much different than desktop support.

I’m honestly interested to see what it could be. If I get the position I’d be making the largest salary I’ve ever had in my life, even working for myself, it’d mean some big changes, and honestly, I’m not sure it’s a good fit, but I’m up for a challenge.

So if you think of it, I’d appreciate a prayer or three. Final formatting adjustments on the resume in the AM, making sure the app looks good, then submitting it and saying a prayer. Could be a good thing, may say:

Woah! You’re exactly what we wanted, let’s go for the higher end of the pay scale!

At which point:

I’d of gone car, but I don’t want to set any false expectations. Plus everyone loves tacos. So tomorrow we’ll give it a go and see how things turn out, might have a new IT Directorship here soon, it starts in July if I get it, so likely a lot of legwork between now and then but one step at a time, meetings galore this week, T-Ball, Swimming, Music, etc. going to be a busy one so wrapping it all up!

Night!

Hope.

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Lately, in this wacky world we live in, I don’t see a lot of hope. Some blame our president, some blame a skin color, some blame God, some blame the person next to them. Honestly? It’s my fault. It’s your fault. We have all lost hope.

Our previous president was embodied as “Hope” – it was hope for change, it was hope for the future. For many of his followers, that hope he created, quickly went away when he left office, but after all, things said and done he was and is just a man. If you misplaced hope in someone who could fail. Who had a limited time in power, who may of went left instead of sticking right, we’re all human! It happens.

Do you want to see a better world? Want to see things better? Don’t expect the current president to fix it for you. He isn’t your hope, nor is he your destroyer. He’s a man. Flawed, broken, and too is going to make good things, and bad things. Not here to debate what he’s done good or bad – because as with anyone on the left, right or middle can say about ANY president – but Trump isn’t my hope nor was Obama.

Lately, I find myself looking for hope in what intake into my mind, my heart, my life. From stories to music, and I find myself in stories of hope, all of which start with us looking to the light, not towards the dark – that never-ending battle of good over evil. The Machine vs. Samaritan (Person of Interest), Kevin doing for others (Kevin Probably Saves the World), Crowder singing about where his hope is in the song above, to Mercy Me telling us in the dark, we can hold on to hope in him (Even If).

It hasn’t been what I would call an easy few years for me, friends moved on, life changed, health took a plunge and my connection to life has changed drastically. How do you find hope in what you know as your world – which just crumbles in front of you? You’re told you’re bad, you’re told your stupid, and told your health is crumbling – Diabetic, High Cholesterol, Dangerously High Blood Pressure – and let’s not leave out a business which has had its share of dings. Where do you find hope?

Honestly, I’d love to write that I was the good Christian boy, that I said “Yay God!” in all moments, but I’m not. I’m human. I’m flawed. I made choices, which brought me to this day where I am right now. And what can I say today after these hard years and maybe more hard years to come? God is Love, and in His Love, there is hope.

Today I write not hiding behind some magical and happy life that I post daily on Social Media that is fake, today I write as a guy who’s fighting uphill to get where God would have me. Not where I’d like to be always, but taking that step into the fire knowing that he won’t let me get burned, but I may feel a little heat, I may break a sweat, but even through all of this, through 400+ blood sugars, to heart rates that likely if had been higher would of sent me to a hospital, from fights in my marriage, fears in my child not coming into this world, to words spoken to me in “love” stabbing deeply and abandoning me – I’m still standing.

I may be light in a few areas of my life, I may not be driving a sports car, I may not have the supports or same outlook as to where my life was going, I’m standing.  I am watching a 3 yr old grow into an amazing life, I’m watching a marriage with fewer fights,  I’m seeing blood sugars lowering down to 110.  I’m seeing me stronger. Maybe not as quickly as some felt it needed to be, maybe not how quickly as it was supposed to be – but I’m human, I’m flawed.

2017 is quickly coming to an end and like Job the end of this tale where many times I feel like was told to “Curse God and Die” by so many areas of my life, I’m happy to report I did not, and I’m looking forward to restoration. To seeing how God can continue to redeem my life, redeem what I’ve lost even more. Yes I know so many of us can say we feel like Job – I know so many people I’ve talked to over the years have gone through their own Job Season – I think for many of us we do, not everyone does in this life and that’s one of those “Questions for Heaven” an old Pastor I knew used to talk about, but he also reminded us no matter the trial and tribulation we went through in this life, his God. My God. Is there besides us.

I’m thinking this will be my last post for 2017, I’m hoping to continue writing about my journey in 2018, but I’m going to focus my creativity, my energy, my life into building the things God’s laid in my lap these past few weeks, focus on exercise, on eating better, on building – so I wish you all who actually read this a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2018.

PS:301 – Creating Something

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While I call this “Post Something” I have lately had my drive to create things again, and while I don’t always lately do the creating, I have LOVED kickstarting things! Also, I have done some Patreon for some amazing YouTuber’s who’s content I enjoy.

So for me lately, it’s not just what I’ve created, it’s what I’m helping create, in turn, some of these things help (or will help) me create and fuel my creativity.

I recently got my Hero 101 3D Printer. It’s not great, nowhere near my MP Mini, but honestly for $49 3d printer, once dialed in I imagine it can help in production if needed. 🙂

Photography though has always been a love, and I need to find more time, and too with it exercise a bit more! To that end, one of the most recent is a steady cam for my smartphone! It still has 50 days to go, but it’s already 325% funded – that should be fun for chasing Lilly 🙂 and two other projects should help me with panoramas and 360 shots! There is one for a wearable VR Camera… it’s got my eye, but not my wallet, one to watch, already funded though.

This year I am going to make things happen, the drone will fly again! I will take the camera out, heck with this new fancy iPhone 7 Plus camera I should be able to get some good shots and who knows after taxes and maybe getting hired (fingers crossed) I may save up for a nice new DSLR and sell all my old gear and get something nice 🙂

For now, going to check on this server tune-up and see if I can’t get to sleep soon.

PS:180 – Against a Wall.

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Tonight I’ve worked up to the wall, and instead of going through it, over it, or around it. I’ve decided to paint it. At least the wall looks pretty, because I’ve been staring at it for hours now! Even once stood up and realized “I’ve been sitting for over 6 hours” – haven’t done that in a while, sadly I have a lot more to go.

Tonight I’ve so far deployed and built out not only a nice cluster of servers, but setup 4 servers of my own, including but not limited to my own VPN server re-built from the ground up, two original servers from the dawn of Thrust Networks, namely Apollo and Sputnik are both on deck, Homestar too! I’ve got a handful of mail servers, and just a lot of hardware to work with! Some 100GB+ of memory, 4TB+ of storage, and all on speedy SSD drives. If you aren’t a computer person this = fast.

The new server company has been awesome. They have been quick to respond, helpful in sorting things out, and getting things up and running. Even now things on the backend linked up with a nice private network, all at no additional cost. Can’t complain.

So thus for another night I’m sure to be up past my 2am bedtime, digging in, cPanel is installing in the background right now, last copy installed in just about 20 minutes (a little less actually) – this one is chugging along and already about 50% done – at this rate I’m going to call it a night hopefully not much after 2 (probably 3), for some of these moves I can do it silently in the night, no customers should have issue – overall, big growth. Hoping for more on all fronts. Things are going to change.

PS:160 – Tired.

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This day lasted and I still am not any closer to a wide deployment of a mail server – tired. Sleepy. I did manage to sort out my issue with my i3, it was the extruder replacement, I forgot on the wood filament I dialed it back to PLA friendly and I have it printing another handy add-on for my desk (Laptop Stand).

This night is continuing, had a lot of pain today, aches and pains – this week I need to just accomplish a lot of things, do some homework, and get things rolling to get my school stuff in order and products for customers rolling too.

Making a new site for FlockHosting & Thrust Networks going to be the basic same look, just slap a logo on each, so I can have a functional set of information on each – lots to do, and not a ton of free time ever to do it. Tired.

PS:151 – Back to School (Sort of!)

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So I’ve gone back to school by taking an online course in basically marketing, SEO, community building, and possibly the gateway to a revenue stream that a few folks have told me I’d be good at which is: Teaching.

Apparently the world is all about digital learning, I mean I’m taking it! So if I’m cool enough why not everyone else?

If some of the numbers out there are real, then who knows, an extra $1000 or so may be in my monthly budget in the next 6 months.

The one thing I love about this teacher is she is very much a “Be Patient” pusher. See I’ve always known the web to be a slow rolling thing. Sure you hear about companies that are “overnight” success, but really are they? Even some names that come to mind they are in year 2 and unprofitable but very popular.

I want to grow a brand, TFH is a big thought to that same end, but even then it stretches out to too FlockHosting’s blog which is my only other blog – I’d love to make it into an option for some e-learning at a fair cost, really market my knowledge.

Like my last post, change is needed. If folks aren’t just lying to me and I’m kind of smart, then would folks pay a little something to learn what I know if it’s so valuable? I mean less and less are wanting to pay for it in the form of a paycheck, but hey maybe if I teach folks, I can get a little something back. Time will tell!

PS:149 – No Love.

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We live in a world of the web being “free” and as a provider of internet type services sadly folks look at my skill set as something that should be free.

I suppose I should have called this “Some” Love vs. No Love, because there are those who are happy with services, but then there are those who just take the wind out of my sails and just dig in because in sadly 99.9% of the time error in their haste.

For instance short of his name and domain let’s talk about a recent customer, he pays $18 a year for hosting and $11 a year for the domain. Total he pays me $29 a year. Cheap. He’s been a customer since 2008, so eight years of business and I’ve made $232. Total tickets ever made: 13.

Now the old saying is you get what you pay for, right? Well with me, I go above and beyond. I’ve remote logged into this customer’s computer, I’ve set up everything that was broke, and it just worked. Now as he’s been trying to set up his iPhone (using the wrong password likely a CaPS issue) he’s sent me this email:

I am blocked from the server again… This is awful…
How can i change hosting companies and email accounts? I dont have time for this, it is an awful end user experience that id be happy to pass along unless i get some real fixing here.Please call me [redacted]
This is absurd!

Or the most recent

I DON’T HAVE EMAIL ONCE AGAIN… CALL ME!  I either want to change hosting companies so i don’t consistently have email trouble, or I really need your fixing this…

Now I’ve offered help, I’ve re-configured a desktop, the reason the desktop stops is his iPhone’s SMTP settings are wrong. Sadly since there is no remote login option, I have no way to login and fix it. Apple Genius bar folks told him “Your host sucks” and his “Webguy” said the same, which I think is likely the problem is the new webguy is wanting to say “Move to my hosting.”

I’ve done this for over 15 years. These guys are not new but doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a kick in the gut with recent events. One of my larger clients is “re-thinking” what he is doing in the web space, to the point that he let me know “I’ve researched other server options.”. That is what I do for him. Instead, he wants to bring me on in other capacities, which are not my strong suit, nor strong desire to do.

Ever feel like the nest is just uncomfortable? Lately, just every area of my life is wrong. I have ideas to jump into things, but no real drive/energy to do so, and no real support to make it all happen. I keep starting the day off with “Chin up! You can do this!” however honestly? By day’s end, I am drained, feeling defeated and wanting to just throw up my hands and say “Done.” I then see this little girl who relies on me for much and know I must push forward.

I have to change things up in some regards. Cut the fat, make some changes. Something needs to change because I can’t survive with the feeling that every area of my life sucks.

PS:135 – Power Outages Again?!

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I set up shop with a data center years ago called D. Now D is a fair enough company, they had older-ish hardware at a decent price point, some great sales deals I worked out due to some servers, and it was okay for the most part, till D had a power outage.

Now as a data center you don’t normally think power outage unless it’s been days on generator, natural disaster, that sort of thing – like the old EV1 days when Texas had some serious weather and various issues, but this – never makes sense.

Well after earlier this year having a multi-day outage, I moved a majority of my assets off-site, left the remainder in an OpenVZ configuration behind to function fair enough until today. 10 minute outage, but to get every VE on the node back online about a 45 minute window of outage during the middle of the day, and the cause? Power outage.

So I’ve already been in talks with 2 other companies regarding hardware to build my OpenVZ into a LARGE system vs. two smaller, and another company I manage wants to merge two of their VE’s into a phsyical server (as we did with 2 others of theirs a month or so ago).

So busy week is ahead for me, but I’m still dragging and trying to feel better and feel rested, so far hasn’t come – but thankfully Lilly is feeling much better! Ms. Energy! So off I go to get the ball rolling on hardware requests.

PS:21 – What can I do?

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I know I’m all over the map lately. It’s my life currently. I’m at that spot where I’m waiting to see what this job offer brings. Why? Maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit more than just being the “company owner”.

July 2014 I did get a new title added to my business card: Dad. Big upgrade, huge list of responsibilities, and a cute little girl who does like laughing at my jokes.  But since then I’ve picked up bigger jobs, more work, more responsibility. Talk about stress.

I’ve looked at starting a website, I’ve tried expanding my product lines, I am upping my game, but sadly a lot of it falls flat. I started a ministry website before she was born, really looking to write and share my faith more online. The last post was April 2015. Not too active for over a year.

I want to be a good dad. My dad wasn’t the steady job guy for quite a long time. As a kid he was sick a lot, he did things like rebuilt cars, handyman work. He did get a 9-to-5 job, till he got hurt on the job, but my dad did his best to take care of us all – and that’s what I’m trying to do too.

I’ve been told “Chuck why don’t you do something else?” maybe this job is it. Sure same field, but dedicated pay, insurance, I could simplify my taxes! The lack of my own business I could turn things down, no LLC taxes, no long-form tax returns, simple.

The thing is I do love doing what I do. This past week has been insanely stressful, but at the end of the day, I’ve gotten some amazing responses from my client base. More of a club it feels like than a business sometimes, but imagine how much the stress goes down when you read:

Huzzah! Thank you for your heroic efforts.

Thanks, as always, for all that you do for us!

Everything looks perfect on our site. Praise the Lord!

Thanks Chuck for all you are doing!

Sure I had some customers not as happy, but in the end not a single customer left, and the lights continue to be up and online 95 hrs, 11 mins at the current check of remote monitoring.

It’s not all about the praise. I mean it doesn’t hurt 🙂 but at the end of the day I love working for these people. Sure it may not be $300 a month clients or billing them each for support @ $65/hour – but it’s a blessing to get a check from someone saying “Thanks for your help”. It’s nice to know your work is appreciated.

But I’m thinking more and more like a dad. So much coming up in life, so much I want to have Lilly do. Some tough choices to make do I stay or do I go.

Some things to definitely pray about.

PS:6 – Dream Big.

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I made a post the other day on the FlockHosting Blog about having been around 13 years in business; now Thrust Networks has been around 15 years. It’s been a wild ride.

I started out doing websites with my brother; he went on to do all sorts of good sales kind of things, as well as more of the hardcore network goodies. I stuck to Hosting. I do it pretty well if I do say so myself, and I love it! It lets me help people who aren’t web savvy, who come to a place where they say “What do I do?” and instead of someone who is out to make a buck, they get a guy who wants to help them build.

I’ve been watching Undercover Boss, and it inspires me to think that maybe I can help grow my business or someone else’s business to be something that impacts lives, not just pocketbooks.

I’ve gone on and on in videos, sometimes a tad wordy but explaining things like my passion for Church Hosting. To give churches 100%, free hosting brings me great joy that two fold I can serve Churches as well as help make it as easy as possible! My heart is in it, and praise God others out there have donated into it helping so much they’ll never know how awesome it is to know I can keep growing it!

I want to see big growth. Hopefully, this year will see for a BIG swing in growth! I want to dream big this will grow more and more!