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.


It ain’t got no gas in it.

There’s a funny scene in Slingblade when a guy asked him to figure out the issue of a broken lawnmower, and Carl (played by Billy Bob Thornton…whatever happened to him?), the idiot savant of lawn mowers, rather quickly deduces the problem:

That’s what happened to me.

For over a month now, my new truck had been doing something weird. Basically every now and then, when I turned off the engine — but before I took the key out of the ignition — the entire dashboard would just go black. Everything. This was usually preceded by my radio flaking out very briefly while I was driving. And on two instances, my lights dimming very briefly.

After the lights dimmed, I took it to the dealership. The SUV is under a year old and only has like 16K miles. Totally under warranty. They had it for a week, which meant I had to pay for a rental car for a week. Naturally, they couldn’t find anything wrong because that’s how it always goes. I picked my vehicle up on Friday.

On Saturday, I was driving around and stopped at a store. When I turned off the engine, sure enough, everything went dark. I wrote down a bunch of things for later troubleshooting at the dealer (time it happened, temperature, etc.). I went in the store, came out, started it up, and for giggles, killed the engine. It went dark again. But then a new thing was added to the party mix; it didn’t immediately start back up. After I got it started and since I was close to the dealer, I drove over to it, hoping I could duplicate the issue there.

Once I got to the dealer, I pulled in the garage and killed the engine…AND IT WENT DARK. YES! I could duplicate it at the dealership!! Not only that, it wouldn’t start back up!! I know I shouldn’t be excited about that, but I was. I could not only duplicate it, but it was bricked at the dealership. I literally couldn’t think of a better place for that to happen.

I spoke to the adviser (? I don’t know, the people that take the info) and she told me Jodie (the adviser who handled all my info before) wasn’t here, nor was the service tech who had been working on my car. However, someone said have Mike look at it because Mike is real good. He is. He’s awesome.

Mike came out and had me explain what I was experiencing. Then he got in the car and asked me if I had work. I couldn’t think of any. He said, are you sure? I said, “Yeah, the door was replaced, but that was months ago. It shouldn’t be that because this just started happening.” He asked me what door, I told him, he popped the hood, moved shit around, and in under a minute, my dash came to life.

“What did you do?”

He moved shit around again, the dash went dark, then came alive, then dark, then alive. “See this?” He was holding a cable. “This is your battery cable. I should not be able to pick it up like this. It’s barely on it. Whoever worked on your car last probably disconnected it but forgot to tighten it.”

Then I realized the dealership had replaced a part ABOUT A MONTH AGO. This was on them.

After he tightened it and cleared the check engine light, everything worked as it should. I know it’s fixed because something else that hasn’t been working in a month (the auto-kill-the-engine-when-stopped-to-save-gas feature) works again.

I’m not even mad. This shit happens. I work in IT and I’ve been there. I’ve worked hours on an issue, only for it to be something incredibly easy.

However, I’m on the hook for a $250 car rental fee, which is bothersome. I’m going to call the dealership and ask if they’ll at least meet me halfway, especially since I paid extra for an extended top-of-the-line warranty. I’m going to call them this week to hash that out, and if they don’t, I will take it up the ladder.

Unrelated video. This song always makes me laugh and is a great summer driving tune. I wonder what happened to OMC.


Naptown to Florida; Vacation – Day 1

By the time you read this, I’ll be home. I’m not the type of person to broadcast when I’m away from home because I’m not a fan of inviting bad guys to my house to have their way with it, knowing I’m going to be gone for a while. So, at the time of this writing, it’s 2.19.2017, 11:41pm, and I’m at a Holiday Inn Express in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in preparation for the cruise I will be starting tomorrow. (YOU WILL HAVE TO WAIT FOR WHERE BECAUSE IT WILL BE  A SURPRISE.)

While I’m not a fan of cruises, I’m going to have a blast on this vacation because most of my favorite family members are going along. My sister (Joy); my niece and nephew, Cheyenne and Cody, the former of which hates people as much as I do; my dad and some of his friends; my  uncle Leslie and aunt Fame; and tomorrow, my cousin Christopher and his lady Kaylin will be joining us as we all join the boat like one big family. I’m very much looking forward to it.

It is now 2:32am. I had popped a few Xanax and fell asleep for a bit on these VERY comfortable beds. Shit, for a Holiday Inn Express, I’m pretty goddamn impressed with these beds. However, that insomnia thing I mentioned in the last post? Yeah. Just because I’m taking a vacation doesn’t mean that fuck is.

Anywho, all things considered, this vacation is off to a fine start. I left my house separately from the rest of the family because I live closer to Baltimore, where were flying out off, than anyone else; plus, the cars were all filled up and I couldn’t ride with them if I wanted to. So I gathered up all the various ways I could use to get the airport. After all was said and done, I got it down to about $40 round trip. Rather than  arrange with those companies, I offered up the money to a few friends, who took me upon it. And Anne got me to BWI all safe and sound, get this, at about the same time as the rest of my family. They had just gotten in line and I was able to quickly join them.

It’s way late, so I’m just going to knock this out with some bullet points on the highlights:

  • We were randomly chosen to go through the quick lanes for checkin. This means we could keep our belts and shoes on!
  • My sister scored a free beer on the plane because I made the flight attendant laugh. Still waiting on that particular thank you.
  • When I left Maryland, my suitcase had two wheels; when I arrived in Florida, it had one. I went to the Southwest counter, and they took care of the problem RIGHT THEN by giving me a new suitcase. Right. Then. I cannot speak highly enough of the customer service I got from them.
  • As mentioned, most of my family was going to be on this trip. When we saw Leslie, my uncle, for the first time, he was closing intentionally closing the elevator on us. Those who know Big Les are not surprised by this.

That’s all for now. I’ll share more later!

 

 

Might be something, might be nothing. Probably something. Or nothing.

I’m not the type to believe in ghosts. I mean, I do believe in ghosts, but I think that 99.99% of sightings or whatever can be explained away scientifically. It’s that .01% that makes you go hmmmmm. Like that time I was traversing near a graveyard.

Many moons ago, like at least 20 years, I was dating this girl who had a friend that lived near an old ass cemetery. Apparently, this was one of those family-type deals, so it wasn’t very big, but it had graves going back to the Civil War. Rumor had it, there were some slaves buried on that land too, but unmarked of course.

So, naturally, me, my lady-at-the-time, her friend and her friend’s boyfriend decided to go check out this graveyard in the middle of the night. Because that’s what you do. Of course we only brought one flashlight (because that’s what you do) and soon after arriving at the cemetery, I gave that up to my girlfriend. Off her and her friend went, exploring and reading the headstones, while Chris (I don’t know if that was his name, but for simplicity’s sake, it is now) and I hung back and chatted and smoked.

Eventually we realized we no longer heard the girls, so we walked out onto the street and saw that they were about 1/2 mile off, already heading home. We shook our heads and started after them.

Now, before I get into this next part, I want to elaborate on two things. First, we weren’t…scared I guess. The thought of any ghosts or anything like that never crossed our mind. We had spent most of the time bullshitting about movies and such, so we weren’t even creeped out about anything. Second, it’s important to describe the layout. Basically, you had woods, cemetery, small strip of woods, then the road that runs parallel. Below is a half-ass diagram of the layout.


MAIN HIGHWAY


LOTS OF WOODS BUT NOT ENOUGH SO YOU CAN’T HERE THE MAIN HIGHWAY


CEMETERY

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________    ENTRANCE         _________

SMALL STRIP OF WOODS (MAYBE 10′) BETWEEN ROAD AND CEMETERY

______________________________________________________________________________________________________   ENTRANCE         _________

LITTLE RESIDENTIAL ROAD MY GF’S FRIEND LIVED ON

<— we were headed thataway

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So Chris and I exited where that entrance is. So we had maybe 1/4 of a mile or so to walk until we were passed the cemetery. That strip of woods between the residential road and the cemetery might have been about 10 feet wide, but it wasn’t dense, you could kind of see the graveyard from the road through those “woods”, even at night. But, again, we weren’t scared, freaked out, or creeped out. We were just heading back to the house like it was normal.

Almost immediately after we got on the residential road and started walking back to the house, I heard the crunch, crunch, crunch of someone or something (don don donnnnnnnnnnn) pacing us in that strip of woods on our right. I stopped, and Chris stopped with me. “You hear that too?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

We both peered into the woods, but saw nothing. Just the graveyard through the brush.

We started walking again.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

We stopped again. Looked at each other, looked at the woods. Saw nothing. Not even an animal.

Walk. Walk. Walk.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Stop. Look. Nothing.

By about the third time we stopped, I’m not even going to lie, I was nervous. I’m the first to admit, it could have been an animal. But we couldn’t see anythign. It definitely wasn’t our girlfriends. We could see them at the end of the street where the light was (NATURALLY). And if it was a person, we definitely would have seen them. The woods weren’t dense.

Walk. Walk. Walk.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

This time we stopped and didn’t look in the woods. We looked at each other and knew what we had to do. RUN!

We ran, the thing (or whatver) crunching along at the same pace as us, stopping when it reached the end of the cemetery line.

We got back to the girls, out of breath and shakey. They asked why we ran, and again we looked at each other. “No reason,” I said. “Just wanted to catch up with you guys,” Chris offered. The girls looked at us weird but left it at that.

Chris and I never talked about it, and I lost track of him after my girlfriend and I broke up.

I don’t know what was pacing us in the woods that night. I know it wasn’t the wind because there wasn’t any. I’m confident it wasn’t a (live) person because we would have definitely seen them, even withot the flashlight. If it were a (small) animal, maybe I’d buy it. But if it were something else…I don’t know. I’d probably believe it. No matter what, though, it was creepy as hell.

Volunforce

I’m not a volunteer. I’m glad there are people out there that do volunteer, but it’s not for me. I’m too lazy.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m heartless (I kinda am), but I do my good will in other ways. I donate money to causes I like. I donate my old clothes/books/furniture/etc. to the Salvation Army as opposed to throwing it out. I give to a few causes on Patreon. Now, granted, I’m getting something back either in the form of tax write offs and/or perks (in the case of Patreon), but I would still donate even if I didn’t get the tax benefit.

Recently, my employer has started this thing called Community Service. Well, it’s not really called that. We call it that. Or Volunforce. Basically all employees are now required to “volunteer” at least 25 hours a year for approved or pre-approved charities and events. I have a LOT of problems with this, which will be another blog post eventually, but as I told Joy, my sister, I’m really fortunate to truly love what I do as well as the people I work with, so if I have to do this, so be it. But, yeah, I do take issue with the idea of it. Anyway…

So far this year, I have 7 hours applied to the mandatory 25. This 7 was earned over in two 3.5 hour spurts volunteering for SOME (So Others Might Eat). Basically, I went to this place where they serve food to those less fortunate, not necessarily homeless, and helped out. There are a variety of jobs to do, such as serving food, taking out the trash, washing the dishes, or, what I did both times, serving coffee. It was an interesting experience all around. Once I learned out how to determine who wants coffee or tea (you just watch for the cups to be raised in the air), I was also told that the people getting the coffee or tea were only allowed to have at the most three sugars or three Sweet & Lows. I think this has to do something about addicts just wanting sugar, but I really didn’t care to ask. All I needed were the rules. I will say, though, those folks that want more than three will act like they don’t know that they can’t have more than three when they see a new face (mine).

Having never volunteered for something like this before, I didn’t know what to expect. But even so, some things surprised me. For instance, I was genuinely surprised on how these folks treated one another. Meaning, no food went to waste. I had expected that, for sure, but I figured it would be something along the lines of people taking with them what they didn’t finish, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, whatever food went uneaten was offered up to whoever wanted it. I don’t know why I found that surprising, maybe because I have such a low opinion of people anymore, but it was pretty…I don’t know. Touching, I guess. Here are some people that have far, far less than what I do, but I get this feeling that they are far, far less selfish than me. Don’t get me wrong, I freely admit I will always be selfish, and this wasn’t a life changing experience, but I was humbled a little.

I should also mention the first time I did the Volunforce for SOME, there was a dude that was dressed just like Raiden. It might have even been him, I was too in awe to ask.

The second time I did SOME, a guy called me over. He was standing against a wall, with no one to his right or left. He mumbled something to me.

“What?”

Mumble Mumble Mumble.

“I’m sorry, you have to speak up.”

Abramumble Mumblenight.

“One more time, brother.”

“I said you look like Abracadabra McKnight!”

“I don’t know who that is.”

“I know you don’t know who that is.”

At this point, the gentlemen turned to his right and started talking to the person that wasn’t there.

“I told you he wouldn’t know who you are.”

“No. No goddammit.”

“I know.”

He was getting mad at this person he was having (from my point of view) this one-sided conversation with, so I walked away.

I’m looking forward to my next SOME trip. I’m not going to lie, I do get a good feeling when I help out. But I also leave with some good stories. So win/win all around, I guess.