Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wow, a post about me?!

(If you're wondering what the pictures above are all about, keep on readin'. I'm just too lazy to post these on the internet somewhere and link to them in the appropriate place.)

It occurred to me this morning as I was updating the template to this wonderful arena for social discourse, that not only have I not shared this blog with many people aside from one friend (and by extension, his wife), and my wife, but I haven't really posted much lately aside from social criticism and links to the writing of others. Forgive me, for I excite easily over the rantings over society's failings, and how ultimately we'll all end up looting REI for that last pair of hiking boots before trying to hide in the woods from other humans when civilization reaches its ultimate decline.

I stated at the beginning of this blog, that I really wouldn't be giving you much personal melodrama (or information, of course). The "blogosphere" ( genuinely hurts to type that word, which is why I have to put it in caps; it's kinda like the magnetic field of a planet protecting itself from the sun's radiation) is filled with way too much personal drama. "Oh look, I'm retro! I listen to music that not too many people listened to in the first place back in 1974 BECAUSE IT SUCKED!" Or "oh, look at my puppies and my myspace page and my blah-blablabla-blah-blah". No, this blog was intended more for social discourse and the insane rantings of a lunatic who still hasn't let go of Lost Boys, Ralph Snart, or any other childhood indulgences.

I will share a brief story about dealing with the town in which I currently reside. I used to work in this town about four years ago (02-04), and there's a bank, donut shop, and dry cleaner's in this little parking lot right at the intersection of two main roads. Always, always huge potholes at both entrances to this place. It's raining one dark night in February and I decide to stop off at the bank after going grocery shopping. Well, one of these big, jagged potholes (pictures above) decides it's a good time to eat not one, but TWO tires of mine (I couldn't see them due to rain). I bought these nice Continental tires just over a year ago and was smart enough to also buy the service plan, as I love my "alignment guy" and would always go out of my way to take the car back to him if I ever needed service to begin with. If they're offering the warranty via some third party, I figure, that will work out just fine as they'll honor it - and they did.

Of course, I'm pissed that I'm out two tires and $30 or so for a AAA tow. I contact the local police so they can log the claim, and asked how I would go about getting reimbursed. "Good luck!", the kind officer tells me, and he was pretty nice; he gave me the phone number of the DPW. I also got in touch with the Town Accounting office and logged the incident with them as that's the dept. which would be able to reimburse me. Turns out they have an insurance policy for this kind of stuff, and they had to put the claim through the insurance company first.

Slight aside here: This was much better than the Verizon customer service nightmare noted in my last post (below). It's never pleasant getting in touch with a local municipality and asking for money - they collect money, they don't shell it out. I have to give kudos to my town for handling this professionally. About a week after this tire incident occurred, I needed an abatement on my wife's excise tax as we had sold her car early in January and got her a different one. I sent the backup via mail to them, and they called me back a couple days later to inform me they received the backup and would credit out the entire amount, and send me a receipt. Much better than the last town I lived in, where I had to deal with a battleaxe of an old broad who insisted I come down in person to the Assessor's office...glad I'm outta that rathole.

Anyway, this insurance company promptly sent out a letter (even though their "investigation" was supposed to take 3-6 weeks) referencing some silly rule that Massachusetts doesn't pay for pothole damage to a car unless they know about the pothole in advance. It's a way for them to avoid being at fault. So I call the insurance rep and explain to her that both the police officer I spoke to AND the DPW employee I spoke to, in order to log the incident, both told me they knew exactly which pothole I was talking about. In fact, the DPW employee stated that he was sure the pothole was on commercial property! Apparently not, or the insurance company would not have had to note this "fact" or "law" or whatever you want to call it, about when and if Massachusetts is ever at fault for potholes. It's been over two weeks and I'm still awaiting a response from the insurance company after I shared this information with them - today I'm calling MY car insurance agent to see if there's any way they would get involved, as this caused damage to my car and I'm not being represented by anyone except myself at the moment in this case.

In other car news, Alfa Romeo might actually be coming back to the States. They've been saying it since 2004, but apparently it's now been confirmed for the 2009 model year. Two hundred and fifty of the 8C Competezione vehicles were sent to the US, and if I know the Northeast, at least a dozen of them ended up here in New England. Hopefully I'll see one driving around, but for now, I'll have to just stare online as these won't be at dealerships any time soon. What I'll have to do is wait for a used one, and hopefully Alfa is smart enough in their US marketing this time around to offer a certified pre-owned plan. Let's face it, it's going to be tough to bring people back to the brand in this economy, with Alfa's reputation for reliability being somewhat...spotty. But if the sport sedans and wagons and such are priced at about Audi A3-Audi A6 level, it will be an exciting shot to the arm for an already crowded luxury car market segment. If successful, I could be ridin' around in an Alfa sometime in 2012 - we all look forward to that, I'm sure.

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