An Update on the Car

After talking to him on the phone I returned to Gengras Volvo to talk with the service manager, John Jeffries. After showing him the problem that I identified with the car he agreed that it should have been caught and that the work they recommended was not necessarily appropriate to my problem. While John may or may not have been obligated to do right by me, he offered to fix some of the other things that they noticed were wrong with my car. At the end of the day I will never know how the tech missed the problem of the hose but to me, symbolically, it makes a huge difference when a business tries to do right when they screw up. Kudos to them for making the effort.

Car Troubles are Not Fun!

For the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with trouble with my 2002 Volvo S60. I love the car and bought/inherited it from my Uncle about a year ago. However its recently been giving me a rough idle and more disturbingly stalled a few times. I took it to my dealer (Gengras Volvo) and they suggested a fix the oil trap, fuel filter, and freeze plugs. The total bill was $1030! Not cheap for a law student. The next day I was driving home and the car stalled out when I was turning into my driveway. Not a good sign.

Luckily I am somewhat savvy and conducted my own research. After sifting through a multitude of Internet posts I think the culprit may be a part called the Electronic Throttle Module. Online forums suggest many people are having trouble with this part and that there was a recall campaign. This seems like some important information that the dealer should have mentioned to me when I was having the work done. However the only two indications that this would be the issue was a small line on the invoice stating that they tested the ECM and it was okay, and a suggestion that the throttle body get cleaned. As an informed consumer I would feel more comfortable with the service if the shop/technician explained more thoroughly in the outtake documents what was found and what work was done. The documents should indicate why the technician thought certain things are more likely the culprit than others. As a computer consultant this is not difficult to articulate and so I do not think it should be hard for a car repair to shop to do it as well.

Oh well, the throttle body cleaning that the dealer suggested I pony up $160 for is easily done at home. I will also be able to test for the wear that is indicative of the failing module and maybe even get a warranty replacement if I find it to be broken. Unfortunately this requires much more pain and proactivity on my part than I believe should be required. Maybe if we paid auto shops to keep our cars working instead of to fix them, the dynamics would change here.

Two Strong Women

Dear Wethersfield Friends,

This may be the first election where I do not vote for every Democrat on the ballot. While I am still a proud Democrat, I have been inspired by the courage of two strong women. That is why I am asking you to join me tomorrow in voting for Mary Beth Maluccio and Maria Kokinis-Tougas, candidates of A Wethersfield Party, for Board of Education.

Their bravery began over a year ago when they decided to reach across party lines and work with the Republican members of the Board of Education on the issues facing our schools. While the members of the United States Senate were fighting over issues like healthcare reform, the members of the Wethersfield Board of Education worked together to rebuild the school administration. When the United States Congress spent months failing to agree on how to tackle our national debt, the members of the Board of Education worked together to rebuild the work of the Board committees where members could develop expertise and focus on specific issues. They set an example that put our leaders in Washington to shame.

Yet working together came at a political cost. When it came time for Mary Beth and Maria to be nominated for re-election their party abandoned them. They could have chosen the easy way out; they could have walked away and let someone else do their jobs. Instead they took the bold step of forming their own election committee and appealing directly to the voters. They held meet-and-greets and walked door-to-door to listen to the voices of the people. They pounded the pavement over the past few months because they worked so hard to put the schools on a promising path and they know their work is not done.

That bold leadership of navigating the Board through an ethics scandal, rebuilding the central office, and working together to tackle the problems facing our school system is the kind of leadership we need if our schools are to prosper. I trust Mary Beth and Maria because I know they are intelligent, thorough, and unafraid to ask the tough questions. If you care about the future of our town and our schools, then tomorrow, please join me in voting for these two strong women for Board of Education.

Sincerely,

Matthew Zagaja

Op-ed fills void: The Courants op-ed page filled a void in 1976 and still does - Courant.com

I found this article by Colin McEnroe in the Courant today be be especially on point. Blogging regularly and making insightful commentary is a difficult exercise. While writing a post like this is rather simple, involving a quote and a few thoughts hastily thrown together, the truly insightful and interesting stuff requires more research and multiple drafts. I know it’s unlikely that people notice this blog considering the frequency of the posting is irregular, but I still consider it worth the writing practice.

I spend a lot of time out in the Digital Disneyworld, and I dont see much breadth or depth of opinion writing. Many blogs are spottily maintained, and few argue a point for more than 50 or 60 words. The Connecticut blogosphere often looks like chaos in Genesis 1:2 — formless and empty with darkness over the face of the deep.Theres a lot of "stuff," but not much rises to the level of an opinion piece on an op-ed page. There are noteworthy exceptions such as Don Pesci, who publishes damn nearly daily on his conservative site "Red Notes From A Blue State." Ezra Pound he is not, but Pescis posts usually go on for at least a few hundred words of essayish prose.I could name seven or eight Connecticut sites where somebody, on a regular basis, writes recognizable commentary, but no more than that.

via Op-ed fills void: The Courants op-ed page filled a void in 1976 and still does - Courant.com.

Inside Tumblr’s Reblog-Worthy Digs

The popular technology blog TechCrunch has features on the office spaces of start-ups. I think its pretty interesting to see how these individuals work so I wanted to link it for your viewing pleasure.

TC Cribs: Inside Tumblr’s Reblog-Worthy Digs | TechCrunch.

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