About Stewie

Not much to say. I work, I watch movies, I write reviews and I love to go to a kick ass coffee shop every Saturday and Sunday.

They fuck you at the drive-thru.

I’ve probably used that title before. Hell, I’d bet money on it. But it’s a more-than accurate representation how a business will fuck you any chance they get. It’s a term my sister and I use often, and its origins are from Lethal Weapon 2 when Joe Pesci’s character (rightly) goes on a diatribe on how, when you order through the drive-thru, you get fucked because you’ll be halfway down the street before you realize you are and chances are, you aren’t turning around. Hell, my friend (the only person who still reads this; if he’s still reading this) used to tell the employees at the Burger King he frequented that he wanted the dine-in fries and not the drive-thru fries; and they knew what he meant.

So, anyway, who fucked me? My local Ford dealership. This is going to get long.

I’ve been a Ford owner since 1993 when I bough my first new vehicle. A 1993 Ford Ranger. I drove that bitch into the ground. Well over 100,000 miles by the time I was done. Loved that truck so much, I replaced it with a 2002 Ford Ranger. After I was done with that, I fell in love with the Escape and purchased a 2012 model. That ended up being totaled by some scumfuck texting and driving and I picked up a 2018 Escape.

While (more or less) the 2018 Escape has been fine, there have been little niggles that have put it in the shop. First was a strange noise coming from underneath the dash. I want to say I took it in, bu they couldn’t figure it out. After some Google searching, I found the solution myself and took it back in. That fixed the issue.

The second issue I had soon after is my lights would dim completely randomly then go back on. The problem was it was random, so I had to leave my vehicle with them for a few days. I asked for a loaner (more on this in a minute) and they said they couldn’t provide one. Since I only have the one vehicle, I rented a car during this period. They had the car for like three or four days, and couldn’t find the issue. So I was out a few hundred bucks for the cost of the rental AND A FUCKING CAR THAT WAS STILL LOSING POWER RANDOMLY. Fortunately, one Saturday it happened again, I immediately drove it to the dealer, and the car up in died in the garage. The dude came out, looked under the hood, and tightened the battery cable that was loose. FFS. You can read that whole ordeal here.

So, now we’re here. I’m at 33,000 miles and I was having some slight issues. There was some shimmying when the vehicle was in park. I was hearing a some squeaking, like a belt going bad, after I started it that would go away soon after the vehicle got running, there was a recall due, and my normal maintenance. Since I was close to my 36,000 mile warranty going out, I figured I’d do it all at once. So I took it in. The lady told me I’d have to leave it for at least a day since that squeak happened on startup. I asked for a loaner vehicle. She was obviously hesitant to give me one until I got irritated and said last time they didn’t give me one, I was out a few hundred bucks for a fucking battery cable not installed. She got a little pissy, but relented and said she would have one in a month. Fuck it, fine by me.

I turned my car in last week. The day after I turned it in, the manager called me and said they couldn’t find the issue. I said, no problem. Take your time. I have a loaner. The day after that he called and said they found the issue. I asked what it was. He said the engine needs to be replaced. The Engine Needs To Be Replaced. Shockingly, I wasn’t all that bothered by it. I asked if my warranty reset since this was going to be a new engine. He said no. That doesn’t make any sense, but whatever. I knew I had bought an extended warranty, which was pretty good. Uh…

I got home that night and pulled my paperwork and checked my extended warranty. Now, when I paid for the thing, I assumed (I know, I know) that it would be an official Ford warranty. Imagine my surprise to find it wasn’t. Instead it was some third party bullshit warranty. So I looked more into this fly-by-night bullshit company called Millennium Automotive Protection. Holy shit, what a fucking scam this company is.

First, I Google searched them. There is no online presence. No website, no Facebook, no nothing. There is some weird site that Google shows, but when you click on “give me a quote”, it goes to another site. Red flag, right?

Then I Google the phone number 855.807.2885. What a got were pages full of warranty companies, none of which were Millennium Automotive Protection. Red flag, right?

Then I searched the Better Business Bureau for this shitshow. Yeah, nothing but complaints on how these assholes have an excuse on how they won’t pay for your claim. You can read those here. Red flag, right?

So naturally, I was infuriated. This fucking trash dealership sold me a third party warranty with no (or shady at best) online presence, multiple companies come up when you search the phone number, and multiple complaints on the BBB. I had so many questions, mainly why in the fuck would they not sell me a Ford warranty. So armed with all of this, I went to the dealer.

You know how no one trusts car salesmen. Yeah, this dealership epitomizes that. Their warranty/finance department is straight scum. To make a too-long story shorter, I showed the guy all the stuff I found (and couldn’t find) regarding this warranty and told him I wanted off. He couldn’t answer many of my questions, mainly just reverting back to defending this shitty piece of paper, but it was irrelevant. (However, one thing he said struck me that I will definitely be mentioning in my letters to Ford, the BBB and possibly the AG of my state — I know all of which will amount to nothing, but if it gets them an annoying phone call, it will be worth it — is when said they don’t offer Ford warranties. WTF. He did say that they would sell them if the customer asked, but they don’t offer Ford warranties. Fucking really?)

So, he pro-rated my amount to $1,600 or so. I told him not to pull the trigger yet because I wanted to get an official Ford warranty before he did so. He said he could do that there and I said unless you can beat $1,700, it’s probably not worth it. Closest he could get was $2,600. lol. Okay.

Side bar, I did a lot of research on this. If you buy a Ford DO NOT BUY THE DEALER WARRANTY WITHOUT CHECKING FLOOD FORD ESP FIRST. Seriously. They will destroy any quote and it’s an official Ford warranty. Also, only purchase this when you are close to your dealer 3 year/36k mile warranty or you’re just wasting money. Naturally, do your research, but I bought one and it went through just fine. I verified with both Ford (by calling them) and my dealer (had them pull it up. Since I (thought I) was getting $1,600 back, I built a sweet package.

Here’s the old:

Shitty Warranty Company Who Will Never Approve Your Claim

  • 6 years/100k miles, “bumper to bumper”
  • $200 Deductible
  • No Rental Car Agreement
  • No Lights Covered
  • (Original) Cost: $2,600

New Official Ford Warranty

  • 6 years/100k miles, “bumper to bumper”
  • $0 Deductible
  • 1st Day Rental Car (I get a car no matter what for warranty service)
  • Premier Rental Car Agreement ($60-a-day reimbursement for up to 10 days)
  • All Interior and Exterior Lights Covered
  • Cost: $1,965

See the massive difference? Plus, that Ford warranty is right in the computer, so don’t need that bullshit Micky Mouse warranty paper if I even need work done. If I breakdown on vacation, I’m a-okay.

So I go back the night before last to get my check since everything is live. The woman who helped me this time informs me I don’t, in fact, get a check. The money goes back to the lien. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK WHY WASN’T I TOLD THIS? She’s going through the motions, and I said, “When does Ryan work again?” She told me. I said, “You can stop. I want him to tell me why he didn’t inform me.”

Dude straight up led me to believe I was getting a check.

I went back the next night fully realizing this was a battle I was going to lose, and I did. The money goes to the lien and not to me. The 2k isn’t going to break me, but it hurts more than it would if it were just the $400 I was expecting to owe. Yes, the argument can be made that I am getting that money back, but fuck you. That’s in three years.

After I get my car back, I plan on writing Ford, the BBB and the AG using a modified version of this post and the one I linked to above. Like I said, I fully expect nothing to come out of it, but if someone gets an ass reaming over it, even if I don’t know, or, even better, jobs are lost, it will be worth it.

I have to hand it to that dealership, not only did they put me off from ever buying a vehicle from them again, I honestly can’t see myself buying another Ford at this point.

Thank God for the interwebs.

For the past few weeks, whenever I flushed the toilet, my pipes have sounded like hell with a bunch of shaking. I thought it was off, but I figured it would go away in a day or so.

It didn’t.

Looking into it at first, I mistakenly read the noise was fine, but the more I thought about it, them more I figured that’s just not right. This was a new problem. My pipes had never made this noise. So a few nights ago I finally knuckled down to look into the issue. I dreaded doing so, though, as I didn’t want to pay a plumber to come in and fix something. Especially if it meant cutting into my walls to do so. God, the money that would come out of my pocket.

(Very) luckily for me, it turned out to be something really simple to fix; something called a water hammer. To be honest, I still don’t really understand what a water hammer is, but this kind of explains it:

Water hammer is a specific plumbing noise, not a generic name for pipe clatter. It occurs when you shut off the water suddenly and the fast-moving water rushing through the pipe is brought to a quick halt, creating a sort of shock wave and a hammering noise. Plumbing that’s properly installed has air chambers, or cushions, that compress when the shock wave hits, softening the blow and preventing this hammering. The chambers can fail, though, because water under pressure gradually absorbs the air. (Source: https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/plumbing/how-to-fix-pipes5.htm)

The fix? Turn off the main water, open up all of your faucets/washing machine/etc. and flush your toilets (basically get all the water out), and then turn back on the water.

This seemed to easy and I did it expecting the worst but hoping for the best. However, much to my surprise and glee, it did work. The first flush I did after turning the water back on I heard no noise, but I expected that to be a fluke. But it’s been a few days and still no more pipes rattling around. I’m so happy over this. I just keep thinking that if this was pre-internet, I would have paid a few hundred dollars for a plumber to turn it off and back on again. Fuck yeah, internet.

Oh, and the noise on my wall? Still gone. It was most definitely the cable box. I haven’t sent it back yet, but I’m pretty sure I will. I’m just going to take my TiVo from my bedroom and hook it up, since I never use my TiVo upstairs. Then I’m gonna send that cable box back and save $15 or $20 a month.

Unrelated (other than “BANG” in the title), Babylon A.D. was a great band in the ’80s (or maybe early ’90s) who I always felt never got the exposure they deserved. They also have another great song that would relate to this post called “Hammer Swings Down”.

Really? I mean, fucking really?

For the past week or so I’ve been hearing this vibration on the wall in my living room that has been driving me absolutely crazy. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, and because it happens so infrequently and only lasts a few seconds, I couldn’t get my phone ready in time to record it to play it to someone (whom, I don’t know, but recording noises is always good so you can figure them out).

I did tried to think about anything that could cause this, but no luck. It happened whether or not I was watching TV, if the heat was running (to rule out furnace noise), there are no pipes behind the wall, it wasn’t the sound of an animal. I took the pictures of my wall with no luck. I talked to my neighbor on the other side of my wall, but he didn’t hear anything. It wasn’t happening in any other room in the house, just the living room and just on the back wall. I simply couldn’t figure it out, and every web search I did turned up blank. The people that had similar issues either figured it out that it was pipes, wind or traffic (none of which applied to me) or never said what it was. I had a very mild concern it was electric, but it wasn’t a hum and I didn’t smell ozone. It was something vibrating.

Last night, I finally figured it out, mainly out of frustration.

After hearing the noise off and on ALL DAY, I ended up just turning off my TV, having given up. I also turned off all the lights; maybe it was electric-related. So there I am, sitting in the dark, working on my laptop, when it happened again. I got up, but by the time I took the two steps to the wall, it had stopped. But I heard something else. My cable box was running hard. At least the fan was (which is weird since I haven’t watched TV since Sunday). I unplugged it, and I knew, I just knew that was the cause. I went to bed.

Today I’ve been playing video games (The Bard’s Tale IV!) for a few hours and now listening to Art Bell on TuneIn Radio and haven’t heard one vibration. I’m gonna give it a few more days then plug that sucker back in and see if it starts up again as I suspect it will.

As far as what’s vibrating, I’m thinking it’s either the box itself or it’s effecting something on my entertainment center and the acoustics are fucking me up.

But holy shit. This was rage inducing.

Dig this cover.

Million dollar idea being ignored.

So I posted this on Twitter a while back and even tagged the respective parties, but no one bit. Which I just don’t understand why not, since this idea is pretty damn good if I don’t say so myself, and more than doable.

When I’m cooking, cleaning, or dicking around at home, I usually throw on Law & Order: SVU because it’s one of those shows that provides perfect background noise and is procedural enough that you can jump in at any time and have no problem figuring out what’s going on. The episode which gave me this idea is one where an old partner of Tutola’s (Ice T) showed up and they worked a case together. I got to thinking…

Hear me out. What if another partner of Tutola showed up named…oh, I don’t know, let’s say Detective Peretti. And Peretti needed Tutola’s help in finding an old drug kingpin from their past who is now suspected of rape. We’ll call this guy…hmm…Nino Brown.

While Tutola and Peretti are on the hunt for Brown, they run into their old boss, Stone, who gives them a hand.

The parts will naturally be played by:

  • Peretti – Judd Nelson
  • Brown – Wesley Snipes
  • Stone – Mario Van Peebles

How awesome would it be to have a mini-New Jack City reunion on Law & Order: SVU? And it’s more than doable. I’m quite sure you can get these actors reasonably for one episode. Maybe even work in Pookie (Chris Rock) somehow.

Okay, maybe tens of dollars idea being ignored, but still.

I am my brother’s keeper.

The irony.

I still have a home phone. I know more and more people are dropping their home phones for their cellulars, but I love having the option having a throwaway number that I can access. I only use it when I fill out credit card applications/loans/contests, etc. Basically anything that will sell my phone number to the highest bidder will get my home phone. I check the messages only to see if I won a contest because no creditors are going to call me. 98% of my messages are spam/scams, 1% is my electric company telling me there’s a power cycle, and 1% is wrong numbers.

Thursday I checked my messages for the first time in weeks and was pleased to see there were only two. However, both were from the same person, and both were pretty aggressive in nature. It was a collection company/law firm threatening that they had tried to reach me “multiple times” and if I didn’t call back within 24 hours, legal action would be taken. Okay, scammers. Thank you for leaving your number. I always take delight in fucking with these shits when I’m having a bad day or week, or just a bad minute.

So I did my due diligence and looked up the company and found they were legit (but the…reviews I guess….stuff I read said this company — the name is slipping me right now — are big assholes).

One thing I thought was very odd is in neither message did they say my name, they only left a case number. Okay, seems legit.

So I called them on Friday.

“Hello, this is Rosenberg and Associates, how can I help you?”

“Yeah, you guys keep calling this number. Who are you looking for?”

“Okay, sir, what’s your name?”

“Here is my case number,” I gave them the case number.

“Okay, I’m going to need you to turn to page two on the document…”

“I don’t have a document. Just a case number,” I said.

“What’s your name?”

I gave him the case number. “What’s the name on the case?”

“Look, you called me, what’s your name?” He was getting annoyed. I was silently laughing.

“Yeah, I’m returning your call. You shouldn’t need my name. It should be on the case. I have the case number. What’s the name of who you were looking for?”

Seriously, there is no reason, none at all, why I would need to give him my name. Not only am I legally obligated to (I checked; it says right on the FCC website not to give out personal info – and fuck Ajit Pai regardless), but this still felt like a scam so I was taking glee in taking up this guy’s time.

He was already exasperated with me. “I don’t see why you have to be so combative. I’m just asking for your name. You called us. We’re a law firm.”

Yeah, no doubt a law firm in a strip mall, and fuck me for thinking of that after I hung up the phone.

“So you leave me a threatening message, then complain about me being combative when I won’t give you personal info? If the name of the person you are trying to reach isn’t on that case of the number I gave you, it’s either a scam amateur hour over there.”

“You’re being combative. I’m just asking for your na…”

“And I’m not going to give it. Stop fucking calling me. You don’t even know the name of the person you’re supposed to be calling.”

He finally blurted out a name of someone I knew.

“See? That wasn’t so hard. I don’t even know who the fuck that is.”

“You called us being all combative. You have a nice…”

“Oh fuck off, douche,” and I hung up before he could because that’s a victory and I don’t care.

Honestly, fuck bill collectors and their shit tactics. I haven’t had to deal with them in probably two decades, but I’ll be damned if I’ll give them any info of people I know.

I’m kind of hoping they call back. I really want to drop that strip mall line. And honestly, the irony of this asshole complaining that I’m being combative after they leave me shitty messages.

Unrelated video. Just dig the creepiness of this. I swear, these Outrun artists really put out great videos. And why is it that pictures of murdery newspaper headlines and older, dirty photos really creep me out? Like, the beginning of Law & Order (regular or SVU), those pictures they show, some of them are really creepy.