Friday, December 14, 2007

Join Kino Flores for a Holiday Social

State Representative Ismael "Kino" Flores will have a Holiday Social at his district office on 121 E. Tom Landry Ave. In Mission, Texas from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. On Dec. 20th. Join him and his staff for food and Christmas joy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Working the RAHC

Today, in Harlingen, the Regional Academic Health Center dedicates its Academic and Clinical Research Building. This brings the Rio Grande Valley a step closer to having a fully functional medical school.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Eat Awesome Tamales at Delia's

My wife and my mom were telling me about tamales from Delia's in McAllen. We normally buy tamales at De Alba's Bakery in Mission because it's one of the closest places that makes tamales. We buy them there even if they don't exactly taste home made. I can't put my finger on it, but they don't taste the same.

So, the tamales at Delia's are supposed to be so awesome that people will make the drive to McAllen, Pharr, or Edinburg. Of course, I was skeptical. Tamales are tamales, right?

Today, after Mass, we drove to the Delia's on S. 23rd St. in McAllen. I expected it to be a restaurant with awesome tamales. I was wrong, pretty much all they sell are tamales. At the bottom of the menu, they have menudo, but for the most part all they sell are tamales. They have quite a variety with chicken, pork, beef, cheese, and spicy varieties. If you are serious about tamales like they are, I guess you will have such a wide selection of one item. They even have tamales Veracruzanos, which use banana leaves instead of corn leaves and are bigger.

Normally, tamales retain their shape as they are cooked in the leaf. Delia's do too, but they are very soft. You can grab the tamal from the end of the leaf and the inside will slide out without having to unwrap it. They also provide chopped lettuce, tomato, and chile for you to serve yourself. There is a lady making corn tortillas. You get fresh salsa. All these sides are free. All you buy are the tamales and your drink.

One last thing. By offering such a great product, you would think that they would relax a little about other things, like their coffee. They don't. They have bad ass coffee. It's nice and smooth. They have about 6 carafes ready. To me, that is the key to a good eating experience, good coffee. It just made my day.

We are fortunate that Delia's is set to open another location in Mission, a couple miles away from our home. I can assure you that we will be faithful customers of the establishment. I hope that they have the same standard of flavor as the one in McAllen.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If you can read this post

Then you are at the wrong site. I've moved and made a community for others in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. You are welcome to join us at and become a member.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Morning Report Experiment

This morning, I experimented with a morning report for RGV Life. I mostly want to see if it's feasible to spend time reviewing stuff in the morning.

You can listen to the episode here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Domain Move Is Complete

I just checked all the settings and I have successfully migrated the domain for RGV Life to Ning. Now, if you type, it will take you to the RGV Life community site. This is where I hope people from the Rio Grande Valley will join in and help me discuss issues that affect our region. In order not to leave this old blog out, I still feed posts from here to the community front page. In addition, you can type and be redirected here.

Please, don't hesitate t sign up for the RGV Life community site. Your input is welcome.

The address is not resolving to this blog, it's going to google. I'm not going to mess with it, it's not that important. Just bookmark this site as and the community site as until I figure out what else to do.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Join the RGV Life Community Site

We Are Moving
Given my experience with Ning, I believe that it is safe to create an online community for RGV Life. A majority of the people who have visited this blog have been friendly and great contributors.

You Are Invited
You are welcome to join the RGV Life community and share your experience of living in the Rio Grande Valley. Our region has much to enjoy and to give to the world. Help me celebrate the Rio Grande Valley experience.

Why We Are Moving
The decision to open up RGV Life to others is that I believe that there are many others who live the RGV Life experience. Maybe you don't have the time or inclination to frequently write blog posts. But, if you contribute even just one blog post, you have done something. Blogger is rather limited in building community, so the best alternative is to move to Ning. I'll still blog here and feed the content there so that you don't have to visit two sites.

Why Should You Join?
As a member, you will have full access to all the features. You can post in the forums, add photos, write your own RGV Life blog, add music or podcasts, add video, and make friends. There is no cost to you for being a member of the RGV Life community.

A Couple Concerns
Given the track record of some blogs in the RGV, I do have some concern that the RGV Life community site will attract political operatives who will trash talk each other. This could degrade the quality of the site. I actually gave this some thought. Ning is a great service in that they allow us to block users who step out of line. In addition, as owner, I have access to everybody's email addresses and other information. We don't want it to get to that point, but we can boot bad actors out.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Join Me on Talkshoe on Sunday Morning

I'll be hosting a show on Sunday morning at 11 AM. Join me to chat about the Rio Grande Valley. You don't have to live here. Perhaps you are thinking of moving to the RGV or know somebody here.

Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
Talkcast ID: 50547

Powered by TalkShoe

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Mexicans Tell Us That a Border Wall Will Not Stop Them

Here are snippets from Mexicans who tell us point blank that a wall won't stop them. So long as we Americans need them, they'll come here to work.

Keep in mind that no matter how opposed you are to illegal immigration, somebody is hiring them. Let me repeat, somebody is hiring them. That's all the hope they need to risk their lives and freedom to come to the United States.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Have We Lost the Cause on the Border Wall?

Valley Newsline's Ron Whitlock discusses the situation with the construction of a border wall along the Texas-Mexico border.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Valley Newsline Interviews Senator Cornyn About Border Wall

Ron Whitlock interviews Texas Senator John Cornyn about the construction of a wall along the Texas-Mexico border.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

High School Football is On the Way

You know you've been waiting for it. You did not like the way last year turned out. You heard that this year's team is going to really kick butt. High School football is ON!

Football in Texas is a big thing. Rio Grande Valley football is even bigger. I'm a bit torn on this. Many people in the RGV life for football, but our people are small. When they make it to state, they get pounded by the giants who live in San Antonio and Houston. But it's still pretty exciting when an RGV team makes it to state.

If you are a big football fan, I would recommend listening to and interacting with my friend, the C Dogg, Chris Doelle at Lonestar Grid Iron. Raise awareness about RGV football on this popular podcast.

You can also get some local fame by sponsoring the show. Tell Chris that Shaine recommended the show for your ad. The beauty of this show is that you get nationwide exposure. In case you're wondering, don't forget that a big part of our economy is tourism. So, whenever a tourist comes to town, they may very well come to your business because they heard about it on Lonestar Grid Iron.

I'm sure you have your season tickets and a copy of the season games memorized by now. You are just waiting for the weekend. Get ready for a great season! May the best teams win.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Primer Programa de Radio Internet en Español - Frontera Sin Barrera

Esta noche grabe mi primer programa the radio internet en español. Por favor disculpen mi naqueza; hace mucho que no me dedico a hablar español por tanto tiempo a la vez. El tema de este programa is de dejar la frontera sin barrera. El congreso de los EE. UU. han propuesto la construccion de una barrera en la frontera de Tejas y Mexico. Muchos de los que viven aqui se han opuesto y se estan organizando en contra. Espero crear programas mas interesantes en el futuro. Por mientras, si gustan dar su opinion, hagan sus comentarios en este blog.

Haga click aqui para escuchar el programa.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Searching For Mission High School Alumni

I am looking for graduates of Mission High School to join the Mission Eagles Alumni site at

The new site is powered by Ning. Unlike the other reunion sites, this one is free. Jump in, we'd be glad to have you on board.

Visit Mission Eagles

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hurricane Dean on the Way

I've been tracking Hurricane Dean on and off throughout the week. You may recall that there was some concern with Tropical Storm Erin, which completely missed the RGV. Erin headed North of us instead. Earlier in the week, there was concern that Dean was headed straight for the RGV. Now, as Dean approaches, the track seems to take the hurricane south of the Rio Grande Valley.

At the moment, the storm is passing over the island of Jamaica. After that, there will be landfall over the Yucatan peninsula before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. We won't really know what Dean will do at that point. After listening to some meteorologists, they expressed a general rule that once a hurricane reaches category 4 and 5, that it generally goes in a rather straight line. This is what has the weather models predicting that Dean will hit south of us. You also have to keep in mind that the current path is an extrapolation of where the storm has been already. Therefore, any small change now can lead to a big variation on where the storm will eventually end up making landfall. This means that the Rio Grande Valley is not out of the woods yet. We will have a much clearer picture once the hurricane passes over Yucatan.

It is a good idea to casually work on a hurricane preparedness kit just in case. Depending on where you live in the Rio Grande Valley, your needs will differ. Those of us close to the cost will have the most to worry about in terms of damage and water. Those of us further inland still have rain and tornados to watch should the storm pass nearby. You should keep in mind that the northern portion of a hurricane usually dumps the most moisture on the RGV. So, having Dean hit just south of us is worse than having Dean hit just north of us. It seems up until now that Dean will hit south of us, but how far is the question.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rescheduling Tomorrow's Show

Alma and I are moving up our show to 1 PM instead of 5 PM. We have a family event to attend. Sorry for the late notice. You can stop by BlogTalkRadio to listen.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Border Wall Public Meeting


Wed. Aug 8, 2007
Palmview Community Center

This is just a raw recording of the whole event. It is broken up into parts, so one will end and then another will start in a few moments. In case you missed the meeting, you can listen in on what happened. The event was organized by the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In attendance were Ramon Garcia, Jim Blackburn, Brenda Lee Garza, McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez, Rep. Kino Flores, Rep Gonzales, and County Judge JD Salinas.

This is over an hour long.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

There is right and there is wrong

I was just reading this post over at The Mex Files. It is about a young man who was brought to this country illegally. He volunteered for our military, went to Iraq, and came back. Now, he is being denied citizenship by DHS. I don't think this is right.

Friday, August 03, 2007

An Eco-Wall?

Prickly Cacti
Originally uploaded by WhirlingPhoenix

There has been a lot of talk about building a wall along the border recently.

Congress says, "we're building a wall".

Texas says, "we don't need a wall".

The Governor says, "we need a virtual wall".

Non-border states are crying, "we need a wall!".

Mexico says, "if you build a wall, we'll be offended".

The Texas Border Coalition says, "hell no we don't need a wall".

I was just reading The Mex Files and they say, "what about an eco-wall?"

It kind of makes sense. Instead of building a wall of bricks and mortar (Congress is collectively and individually stupid if they think a chain link fence will do the job), why not make a biological wall? If you line the border with cactus and other nasty vegetation, it would go a long way towards slowing down all but the most determined individuals.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Methodist Church in Mission, Tx

This photo was taken during a walk around Mission, Texas. Would you like to share your photos? Send me your flickr link and we'll post it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

BlogTalkRadio Show

listening to music
Originally uploaded by shainelee
The Live Show Experience

I dragged out my old RGV Life Podcast and made it the basis of my first live cast experience at BlogTalkRadio.. This is one of those projects I wanted to do, but was just nervous as heck to go out and do. Once you do something often enough, it's not as exciting, but I've never done a live stream. It's exciting to me. I had the shakes long after the show was over.

Drawing from prior experience

In my experience with podcasting, and then video, and now live audio, first experiences are a bit crummy. But you don't let that stop you. You need to keep trying and improving. This is something I try to teach my children. Don't give up because you didn't do as great the first time. You don't get good without failing first.

Another experience, recently, is one in which I posted a YouTube video that uses expletives in Spanish on my RGV Life blog. Somebody commented that I ought to delete it as it is insulting. I do agree that it is insulting, but I have to respect that the creator is out producing something. This is a skill. Rather than kicking somebody down, I'm more inclined to promote their work and hope that they get the incentive to improve their work.

Why should you care?

So, how does this apply to you? Well, you ought to make your mark. Start a blog. Start a podcast. Create some video content. Start a live show. Whatever catches your creative interest, go out and do. Don't let fear stop you. You only fear the unknown. Once you know what you're doing, the fear goes away. I certainly look forward to mine going away. Go; create.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Join Me On BlogTalkRadio

I'll be doing a live show, RGV Life - Weekend Chat, on BlogTalkRadio this weekend, July 28, at 5 PM. You are welcome to call in and chit chat. I'll try to throw together some talking points. English or Spanish is welcome. Give me a call at 646-716-8227 when the show starts so that you can be on the air with me.

Follow the link below so you can bookmark.

Invitation to New Media types in the Rio Grande Valley

If you are into producing video, audio, or other New Media content for the web and live in the Rio Grande Valley, you are welcome to join the RGV New Media community at Ning. Simply go to and sign up. The benefit of joining us on Ning is that the site is open and accessible to people outside of Ning. So, if somebody is thinking about maybe joining but isn't too sure, they can at least read our discussions and posts to determine if joining such august company is worthwhile.

Another advantage is that Ning provides RSS feeds for the forums and blogs. This allows you to keep up with the latest within the group without having to visit the site. You can simply check your RSS reader for updates.

Ning also provides options for uploading media like videos, photos, and widgets. You never know what's going to be cool through the course of the group's history.

The absolute most important reason to join is that you will get to meet and interact with other people in the Rio Grande Valley who are into New Media. The greatest value you will get out of this are the relationships you can forge. We look forward to meeting you.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Video: Harry Potter Book Party

Mrs. Mata and I took our kids to the Harry Potter book Party at Barnes & Noble in McAllen, Texas. This was our second, and last, event. Here is a video I threw together last night.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon and Dinner

Today I accompanied Rep. Peña to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Rep. Aaron Peña, and Rep. Veronica Gonzalez reviewed their accomplishments and the accomplishments of the 80th Texas legislative session. The event was held at the Echo Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg.

Later that evening, the legislators attended the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Dinner at the McAllen Country Club. The legislators were joined by fellow Rep. Armando Martinez.

The Valley delegation counts the 80th Session as one of the best for the Rio Grande Valley in History. They largely agree that it is due to their high level of cooperation during the regular session.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Just a Little Flooding

Yet some more rain in the Rio Grande Valley. Here is a passtime that some of our residents have decided to do during these times of constant rain. All you need is a tire, a truck, and a rope.

The Rains Keep Coming

Originally uploaded by gydnew
The ground in the Rio Grande Valley is still saturated from recent storms. Flooding is a frequent sight all around the Valley. The forecast calls for more scattered thunderstorms for the rest of the week. With any luck, the rains will be sparse.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Glimpse of Alamo, Texas

While browsing around on Youtube, I came across this video about Alamo, Texas. It's titled City of Alamo, Texas then and now. Alamo is a nice little town in the Rio Grande Valley. Some good people come out of there. Enjoy the video.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Drive In Movies: Transformers and Evan Almighty

Driving In, Not Thru
Originally uploaded by uncleboatshoes
Last night we went to watch Transformers and Evan Almighty at the Wes-Mer Drive In movies. If you've ever been to a drive-in movie, you may recall that they usually offer two movies for one entrance fee. The Wes-Mer is a reasonable $12 per vehicle. Value-minded families will tend to prefer drive-in movies as you get a pretty good deal if you have a large group.

You can find out more about the Wes-Mer by visiting or just doing a Google search.

The Transformers

We had already seen the Transformers and liked it quite a bit. Given the opportunity to watch it again at lower cost was irresistible. As a parent, you should suspend your thoughts about physical proportions and the knowledge that when real cars have collisions, they break into a billion pieces. You'll enjoy the story better that way.

Evan Almighty

You won't leave the theater feeling that you've learned something after having watched Evan Almighty. It's about politics more than it is about God. I would watch it for the humor, but not for anything substantive.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cheap Gas in Mission

Cheap Gas in Mission
Originally uploaded by shainelee
While other stores have raised prices to $2.79, Aziz and HEB on FM 495 (Griffin Parkway) in Mission have remained at $2.64, today.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Ferry at Los Ebanos

Mission recently announced the opening of a new International bridge to cross from Texas into Mexico. There is no shortage of people wanting to cross from one side of the Rio Grande to the other.

Los Ebanos still has a hand-pulled ferry that crosses people across the border. The ferry has been in operation continuously for decades. The ferry has a line tied on both sides of the border that keeps the ferry from floating downstream. It is tethered to pulleys that ride along the line as the ferrymen pull it across. Given its limited capacity for automobiles, the ferry is not the fastest way to cross. It is, however, a fascinating look at a bygone era.

Flooded Street in Mission

Flooded Street
Originally uploaded by shainelee
We had some heavy rains here in Mission, Texas for a short period yesterday. It was enough to flood our street. It drained in a few hours. This is why hurricanes and heavy rains upstream on the Rio Grande are a concern around here. This is why it was so important for Congress to appropriate money to strengthen the levee system that protects. us.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Museum of South Texas History

Museum of South Texas History
Originally uploaded by shainelee
Yesterday we went to the Museum of South Texas History. I had never been there before despite having wanted to go. My wife and I finally made up our minds to go and take the children. It turns out the museum has some great exhibits, well worth the admission. It is not a huge museum, but they do pack quite a bit of history into the space.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quick Drive Down Conway

Here is a video of driving down Conway Avenue through the middle of Mission, Texas. We start from Palmhurst and finish in the community of Madero, a small community South of Mission. Madero is less than 1 mile away from the Mexican border. Unlike Palmhurst, Madero is a part of Mission.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bringing in the Video

I've got a video bug lately. I've been thinking about creating come video content to help highlight and promote the Rio Grande Valley. I've come to realize that you cannot create good video without a decent tripod, so that's my next equipment purchase. Another good thing to have when producing content about the RGV is places to visit. I have some places in mind. All I need to do is write some scripts so that I can plan the video shoots. With any luck, and some hard work, I'll be generating some fair video about the RGV. So, keep checking back on occasion while I work out the details.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Picking Up SpinRGV Again

Due to my travels over the past year or so, I have neglected to update the SpinRGV website. What the site is, basically, is posts of the latest press releases by elected officials. In this way, they are able to get the word out to the public without the filter of the press. What often happens is that the newspapers and television stations don't think that a story merits any coverage. This is a show of bias from people who claim to be unbiased. In order to help our elected officials get the word out about what they are doing, I created SpinRGV.

I can't promise that I'll keep it up to date with breaking news. However, in the moments that I have a little extra time, I'll update the posts. As it is, I have my hands full retroposting the press releases I have missed.

A Rio Grande Valley Treasure

I have to admit that before going to Austin, I did not really think about or consider craigslist as a tool for getting the things I want in life. I've used eBay to buy and sell. I knew about Craigslist, but they did not have listings for the RGV.

After successfully finding an affordable apartment in Austin within minutes of seriously using craigslist for the first time, I became a fan. Posting stuff on there is free except for one type of listing. There are no transaction fees like on eBay. Best of all, the listings are local to the RGV. This means that you can save on shipping by simply driving by or meeting up somewhere to pick up what you want to buy. Before you buy the classified ad, put your stuff on craigslist. As more and more people get turned on to it, you'll see that we'll have all kinds of great bargains listed.

Think of it. If you are trying to get rid of something by selling it cheap, do you really want to spend money to advertise it? Of course not. With craigslist being free, you'll see all the bargains pop up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

$2.74 per Gallon

$2.74 per Gallon
Originally uploaded by shainelee
Gasoline price is $2.74 per gallon. This is the least expensive I've seen today. This is a convenience store just North of Alton, Texas. Elsewhere, it is $2.82 per gallon.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

RGV New Media Group

I am organizing the RGV New Media Group for all podcasters, videocasters, and bloggers in the Rio Grande Valley. If you got skillz and the willingness to share and learn, please join us at Moonbeans on July 21st. Sign up on the Upcoming page; bring friends.

To help get us started, I have also created a Ning group for the RGV New Media Group.

If you are seasoned or new blogger or podcaster, you are welcome to join the RGV New Media group.

For more information, you may visit my home page at Shaine to read the details.

If you have any questions, you can contact me at 432-4322.

Governor Perry Signs SB 11 at Hidalgo County Sherrif's Dept.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Scratch That. Starting a New Media Group

In my previous post, I wrote about starting a new Podcaster or Blogger group for the Rio Grande Valley. I had a couple of suggestions in the comments, which totally make sense. I'll work on starting a New Media Group for the RGV.

Starting a Podcaster or Blogger Meetup Group in the RGV

An Idea

I am doing some preliminary planning to start a Podcaster and/or Blogger Meetup group in the Rio Grande Valley. I know that there is interest in some kind of Internet or technology group in the area. Thus far, nobody has moved to organize a group. I have really enjoyed the friendship and information sharing that I experienced briefly with the San Antonio Podcasters. I would like to bring that to the Rio Grande Valley.


Instinctually, I am against putting money into a meetup group without first knowing if people will show up. However, it's a Catch 22. If I don't pay up, how will others know? So, before I do that, I need to contact potential members and ask them about their level of interest in such a group. As in business, you should find the customers before you commit resources. That is not to say that the group would be a money-making venture. Simply, I should know how popular the idea is before spending my hard-earned money.

Benefits of an RGV Meetup

One thing I have asked myself is, why would I undertake such a project? Why would anybody care? Well, there are some obvious benefits that I have seen with my friends in San Antonio.

  • Friendship and Community. It is always great to know people who share your interests. If you play a sport, it's fun to hang out with other players. If you collect stamps, it's good to hang out with other stamp collectors. Similarly, if you are a blogger or podcaster, it makes sense to hang out with other bloggers and podcasters. That's what I want, to hang out with other bloggers and podcasters locally.

  • Recognition. As an individual podcaster, you have to work pretty damn hard to get recognition from the online community or even locally. As a part of a Rio Grande Valley Podcaster/Blogger Group, it sounds really official and professional. You get some frakin' respect.

  • Knowledge and skill trading. This is perhaps the best benefit of all. Members of a Podcasting or Blogging group can trade knowledge and teach each other skills to help each other improve.

  • Networking. You never know if one of the other Podcasters/Bloggers in the group might be a great connection for you in the job market. You're in the group because you have skills or want to get skills. Who better than a fellow podcaster or blogger to recognize your skills and recommend you for a project of job?

  • Link trading. This is vital to get your podcast or blog off the ground. You are more likely to link to people you know than somebody you don't. As a group, you can easily spread link love to give each others sites more exposure.

I am sure that there are more compelling reasons to organize a group; but this is all I could think of at this time.

Looking Ahead

I am slighlty apprehensive at the undertaking because I don't know how it will turn out. I have a rough idea, but no detailed plan. All I can do is what Jack Welch said about strategy, "pick a general direction and implement like hell."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Back Home on June 1st

I was trying out my digital video camera and decided to do a little "day in the life" and some talking about home here in the Rio Grande Valley. I did some driving around Edinburg in the end to fill time.

Take this video with a grain of salt as it's merely an effort to learn all the aspects of putting video for the Internet together.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Possible Future for RGV Life

Tonight, I purchased a domain for this website. The address is ( was taken). I decided to get the domain just in case I have ideas for this blog when I return to the RGV at the end of May. I have stopped blogging to Session 80 and opened up, as mentioned in the prior post, instead. I look forward to returning home soon so that I can continue to share my experience of living in the Rio Grande Valley.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Moving to

I'm going to make my life easier and just post over at Yes, it's a vanity site, because I'm vain. I don't know what the future of RGV Life will be. I won't kill it off just yet. There may be a future for this blog.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Three Months to Go

Austin, Texas is a nice place to live. There are nice parks. There are many outdoor activities. There are fine arts. And on, and on, and on. There is something lacking in Austin that I have back home. There is no short drive anywhere. Every trip to Wal-Mart, HEB, or whatever store takes a long time.

Take, for instance, going for groceries. In Mission, where I live, there are two HEBs, one on Business 83 and Conway and up the street on Griffin Pkwy. South of one is a Foys Supermarket, north of the other is a Wal-Mart SuperCenter. In McAllen, there are three HEBs on 10th St. They also have Wal-Marts on Trenton and Nolana. My point is, groceries are not an issue in my part of the RGV. Here in Austin, it's a major battle to make your way to the grocery store.

Even with all the advantages of "the big city", there are certain inconveniences that just drive me nuts. I look forward to returning to the Rio Grande Valley.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mobile Google Reader

Google has made great improvements to its rss feed reader. One improvement implements AJAX so that the reader updates right before your eyes as new feed items become available. The beauty of this is that you don't have to refresh the page to become aware of the updates.
Another improvement that the new google reader has made is that you can share stories on your website or blog. If you are into sharing, like me, this is a handy feature.
I am saving the best feature about the Google Reader for last. The new reader allows you to read news feeds on your phone. It starts by displaying the most recent news items. You can then navigate by number (1 to read more, 0 to go to the next headline). Google also goes through the trouble of stripping the extra graphics that would make phone viewing almost impossible. This saves a lot of time that you would have spent waiting for a page to download. Finally, the mobile version also allows you to "star" items you find interesting. By doing this, you mark the item for sharing later, or have the settings such that you share directly from the phone.
This has been a great improvement in reading news and blogs for me. I can keep up on the latest without being tethered to a desktop computer or feeling frustrated with slow downloading. If you want to try the mobile reader and have a google account, go to And try it out.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Home for the weekend

I can feel the pace picking up at the Capitol. Things are starting to get busier, especially with the Committee. I spent yesterday getting stuff to make packets for the upcoming hearing. I spent considerable time getting a badge to allow me to purchase supplies and copies on the committee account.
Sensing the increased pace, I realize that some things will fall by the wayside if I don't attend to them now. One of them being visiting my family. I decided to take a gamble and drive home with the noisy wheel bearing. After work, I hit the road without stopping at the apartment. I topped off the tank at Wal-Mart and bought some nuggets to tide me over on the drive. Before leaving Austin, I called my roommate to let him know I'm going home lest he worry I've disappeared.
The reason I decided to gamble getting stranded is that I've often held back because of what "might" happen. I figure that if anything is worth the risk, it is seeing my people.
I am also concerned because my son was put in time out in class again. He's in pre-k. Many would think that at this age it's meaningless; but what is the cutoff? Might as well nip it in the bud before it becomes an issue. I can't do more than voice my disappointment. Parenting long distance is worthless. With my wife working full-time and spending much of her day on the road distributing the kids to their schools and picking them up, she doesn't have much time to dedicate to parenting before sending them to bed. I've learned as a pre-school teacher, that kids need structure and routine to successfully negotiate their day. While I'm away, the Mrs is, effectively, a single parent. This is not ideal.
I'll be home for the weekend, driving back to Austin on Sunday.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mobile audio blog entry by me, Shaine Mata, for RGV Life. Mobile entries are on the go blog entries whenever computer access is not available.

MP3 File

Friday, January 19, 2007

Mmmm, caldo

Mmmm, caldo
Mmmm, caldo,
originally uploaded by shainelee.
My wife knows that my heart is grafted on to my stomach. Knowing that this is, as KURV's Sergio Sanchez states, "caldito weather", she bought all the ingredients for making chicken caldo. For the non-Spanish types, it's chicken soup. The main ingredients, besides the chicken or soup bones, are carrots, zucchini or squash, cabbage, celery, onion, garlic, potato, and maybe some Knorr consome.

While the family was out, I got to making caldo for dinner. Tonight, I pan fried and browned the chicken with herbs in olive oil first before putting it in the pot. Other than that, it's standard caldo. We have limes and Mrs Mata is making "Spanish rice" to complement the soup. I need to check for corn tortillas to top it all off. I could die happy tonight.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Coming Home for the Weekend

I'm going to surprise my family by arriving home a whole day early. I'll arrive sometime early this evening. I've contacted other family members to let them know in case I have problems on the way.
The legislature meets again on Monday, so I'll have to depart on Sunday. It will be nice to be home again for a while.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dinner at China Wok

Dinner at China Wok
Originally uploaded by shainelee.
Before I left the RGV to come work in Austin, we stopped to eat at China Wok with the children. They love the food there. It was a good and bad deal. It was good because Jason, the owner, was cooking that day. It was bad because we didn't get a chance to spend time with him.

The reason we like it there so much is that the food tastes good, the portions are too much, and when you microwave leftovers, they still taste good. They'll still enjoy the food at CW while I'm up in Austin.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Going to Austin

Going to Austin
Originally uploaded by shainelee.
I'm loaded up and headed to Austin to settle in before the session starts. It turns out that state offices are closed today to observe the funeral of President Ford. This is alright as it will give me a chance to find a place to live.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Rick Rodriguez's Swearing-in

I got word at JD's Inaugural that Rick Rodriguez had an event going on at Monte Christo. Rodriguez was one of the candidates that I interviewed back in the primaries, so I wanted to catch his event. It was the swearing in on two judges, it turns out, Ricardo Rodriguez and Mary Alice Palacios. I only had my camera phone, so my pics are good enough for a blog, but far from award-winning.

The New Don MedinaI had ran into Don Medina at UTPA earlier, but didn't get a picture of him. He's sporting a new look. I didn't recognize him at first, but you can't forget his personality. He's the friendliest guy you'll ever meet.

Judge Ricardo Rodriguez's event I did get a chance to meet and shake Judge Rodriguez's hand. There was a long line of people waiting to meet him. To me, that's a good sign of an elected official, that people want to meet him.

There were other people present. I forgot to mention in the previous post that Rep. Veronica Gonzalez was at the Salinas Inaugural. She attended Judge Rodriguez's as well. Congressman Kika de la Garza was also present. I also got to see Laura Hinojosa. I had not seen her since the end of the primaries.

Edinburg's former Mayor Richard Garcia was the MC of this event.

This sort of thing is exciting, to meet some of the people who will make our local government work in 2007. I think it will be a good year. I hope everybody does their best to bring honor to the Rio Grande Valley. The RGV is gaining importance with respect to the rest of Texas. I hope that this year's incoming officials are able to take us to where we should be as a region.

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