Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Product Recalls

     Today I am sitting at the Toyota shop waiting for the Camry's recall work to be completed.  I postponed the original appointment.  I am learning some things about this recall.
      I was concerned that the manufacturer of the recalled parts could have also supplied the same assembly to other automotive manufacturers.  Apparently they have, but not for vehicles in the U.S.  According to a recent NY Times blog (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/accelerator-pedal-supplier-in-toyotas-recall-has-many-customers/) the supplier is CTS Corporation.  CTS is based in Indiana, USA.  One statistic mentioned in the blog is that Toyota represents only 3% of the company's annual sales.  This entry, dated January 28, 2010, noted that other gas pedal assembly customers, including Chrysler, were not affected because their components are different than Toyota's.  Ford did purchase the recalled part for commercial vehicles used outside of the U.S.  I have yet to verify the facts.  More to do and no time to do it!

     The Camry should be ready soon, so I will move on to today's websites:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/  This website is a great starting point for those looking to purchase a new or used vehicle.  Autos, infant and child carseats, and tire safety issues are just a sample of the items addressed on this website.  Consumers can file complaints and research product safety.  The NHTSA also maintains the Safercar.gov (http://www.safercar.gov/) website.  This site provides quick access to recall information.  Recalls include motorcycles, helmets, tires, child restraint products, and automobiles.  Consumers should sign-up for recall notifications sent directly to their e-mail.  Notifications can be general (all autos) or specific (a particular make and model of automobile).
Kicking Tires: http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/recalls/?CMP=GoogResREC&domainid=68&detid=1802681929  This is a blog found on cars.com (http://www.cars.com/go/index.jsp).  Cars.com is another resource for car buyers.

Opps.  The car is ready, gotta run! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Anger Management. . . I Need To Learn (State Workers)

     I can't believe I am still upset over an exchange I had with a parade-goer in March during the St. Patrick's Day parade.  I drove my Xterra in the parade with my local 4X4 club.  I love participating in this event.  This year it was rainy and mid 40's.  Maybe that was the reason for the bad attitudes vocalized by the small crowd.  So, today I am dragging out my double-high soapbox.  Please excuse the typos.

     I work for the State of New York.  I have a NYS sticker on the driver's side of my truck.  I pay NYS taxes, same as many middle class NYS residents and workers.  Recently, written opinions in my region have been very negative toward State employees.  Given New York's current economic status I understand that sentiment. 
     During a pause in the parade's movement, a woman asked me if I knew that I had a nice truck.  I told her that I knew that and then I thanked her.  She asked if I take my "very nice truck" out with the club.  I replied in the affirmative (only once so far and that was long ago).  She looked at my vehicle and asked where I work.  Becuase I have a sticker announcing my employer I said, "The State."  Her reply?  Her reply made me very angry.  She said "Nice to see what my tax dollars are buying."  @#$%$%^&;*@##Q$*@

Why do people think that only civil servants fall into this category?

 = I drink Coke a Cola.  Don't I contribute to the salaries of its employees?
 = I am composing this blog on a Dell computer.  I paid a part of someone's salary at Dell.
 = NYS purchases products from manufacturers all over the state.  Following this logic, one should conclude that tax payer dollars are paying UAW salaries when the State buys Ford or GM automobiles.  Should the State save money and purchase cars from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan instead?  (pardon the tangent)

We all contribute to each others' incomes when we purchase products or services.  Singling out civil servants is not fair to anyone.  There are lazy employees in all fields just as there are amazing individuals doing the work of three people with the resources for one in every organization.  The stereotypes that are applied to civil servants are also applicable to the private sector.

My job was not handed to me.  I had to have a college degree and score very high on an exam to qualify for the job.  If I want to advance within my organization I have to complete graduate school and take another exam.  To be considered for a job, an applicant must have one of the top three scores for his or her exam. 

Which brings us to today's websites:
SeeThroughNY: http://www.seethroughny.net/  This website provides "a clearer view of how ... state and local tax dollars are spent."  New Yorkers can view contracts, payrolls, and expenditures.  The "other data" portion of the website provides regional information, such as city payrolls, and federal payrolls in New York.

New York State Civil Service: http://www.cs.state.ny.us/ Are you looking for a civil service job in New York?  Start at this website.  Sign up for e-mail notification of exam announcements.  Some study guides are available through the website.  Also, take a trip to your local public library.  You will find civil service study books on the shelves.  Ask the individual at the reference desk if you need help.

NYS Unified Court System careers page: http://www.nycourts.gov/careers/index.shtml Bilingual?  Interested in law enforcement?  The courts are continuously looking for interpreters and court officers.  The court system hires attorneys, librarians, secretaries, court monitors, network specialists, and more.  Check this website regularly for job postings and exam announcements. All applications and instructions are on the website.

Happy Dyngus Day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Parades, Rentals, and Recalls

Parades:  The Xterra is ready for the parade in Rochester on Saturday.  New stickers, coat of wax, and touch-up paint.  During the detail job I noticed damage that was not taken care of during the week at the collision shop.  The X is going back.  A brand new BFG AT KO has a couple slices in the side wall.  I am more upset about that than I am about the damage to the rocker panel.  So, those of you in Rochester, New York, feel free to shout out during the parade.  See you there!

Rentals:  I have had several negative experiences with Allstate Insurance.  For this accident I had my company take care of everything and then they will get reimbursed from Allstate.  The one positive thing about Allstate is that they will pay for the cost of a rental that is equal to the damaged X.  Cool.

Recalls:  You're cruising down the road and pass a Toyota car.  Then you pull in front of the Toyota and hang out there.  Why would anyone want to put themselves in front of a vehicle that is recalled for unintentional acceleration? I'm the owner of one of those cars.  So is my husband.  I commute from Rochester to Buffalo.  I do not understand other drivers.

Legal Stuff:
At work today I had to answer a few unique questions for patrons.  I work in a law library in Buffalo.  I have two shifts/weeks at the reference desk.  I love my job.  My most recent post noted the NYCRR.  For historical searches of the NYCRR one has to keep in mind that the publication changed publishers and was reissued in 1994/1995.  During today's quest I reached the road block when the I could not locate the pages that were removed in the 1/1/95 updating process.  That is when my supervisor showed me the set that was replaced at that time.

In Western New York a person can complete a historical research trail of the NYCRR at the Supreme Court Library at Buffalo (http://www.nycourts.gov/library/buffalo/index.shtml) and at the Appellate Division Fourth Department Law Library in Rochester (http://www.nycourts.gov/library/ad4/index.shtml).   The Buffalo collection is filed by date of supplement and the Rochester collection is filed by historical note.

Laptop battery needs power and I need sleep.
Be well.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Xterra is HOME!!

Yes, I know.  I am a dork about my truck.  I get it.  You do not have to tell me this one little fact.  Good news:  I am in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Rochester this Saturday.  My X is one of ten vehicles representing Team Mudnuts 4X4.

Brief entry tonight.   Camry recall appointment in the morning.

Tonight's websites:

Team Mudnuts 4X4, Inc.,  http://www.mudnuts.org/ , is my Rochester area off-road club.  In May there is a 101 event at Whispering Pines. 

New York State Department of State website has information for EVERYONE.  I highly recommend spending some time to surf this site.  
The New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations are posted for public access, at no charge!  Go to http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/nycrr.html to view the contents of the NYCRR.  The NYCRR contains information to all individuals in New York State, including visitors.  This publication contains the administrative rules that govern corrections, the courts, troopers, drivers, social services, etc.  Court forms and highway signs, location of vehicle stickers and bumper height, and other regulations that govern our everyday activities are included.
Please note that there is a disclaimer stating that this is the unofficial version.  The books receive updates six months after the fact.  My colleagues have noted that this version of the NYCRR appears to be more current.  If you need the official and current version call your local law library.

Good night. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2010 Dodge Dakota Pick-up

My Xterra is in the shop, a result of last Thursday's snow and ice.  Meanwhile, I am driving a Dakota truck.  Love the pick-up, hate the driver's compartment/space.  The side of the center consol blocks the gas pedal, the shifter blocks the stereo controls, and (for a truck costing $30K this is not good) there are NO stereo controls on the steering wheel! 

It drives and handles like a car.  The ride is smooth.  I love the lack of blind spots.  By the time I return it to Enterprise (who put the NY Registration sticker in the line of sight) I will be used to the longer-than-my-X wheelbase. 

This has created two questions for me.  1.  Will I consider trading the Corolla for a pick-up (YES!), and 2.  Will I buy a Dakota (NO!  Too uncomfortable for me to drive). 

I will look at Frontiers, Tacomas, and any other small truck with a full size back seat.

You may be wondering why it has taken me so long to create a post.  Several reasons:
1.  DH was deployed in early January.
2.  My son is my focus.
3.  Two recalled vehicles ='s a few trips to the dealership.
4.  One lifted Xterra = many trips to the shop, Advance Auto, Thruway Spring
5.  Icy road and a small collision (no injuries, Xterra was parked) = more trips to auto shops.
6.  Everytime I open the laptop my son wants to go to PBS Kids and play.
7.  Took my boy on our first Mother-son road trip.
           We drove to South Carolina during all the storms on the East Coast.  I managed to avoid the actual storms.  State of Maryland, PLEASE contact the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse to learn about snow removal during and after the storm!  Unannounced lane closings in a 70mph zone are DANGEROUS!  Virgina, you did a good job on the I95.  Thank you!

Time to start my work day.  I am at the reference desk this morning.

Today's websites are for the military families and families where a member is absent for any reason.

PBS Kids (http://pbskids.org/) is a wonderful resource.  Kids can make stories and e-mail them to an absent family member.  There are several parent resources, too.  Sesame Street has videos about deployment that are meant to be viewed by children and parents.

Military One Source (http://www.militaryonesource.com/) is for military personnel and their loved ones.  This is not limited to spouse and children.  Parents of deployed individuals, friends, etc., should surf this website.  It covers everything from TAXES & scholarships for spouses to the adjustments after deployment.