Archive for Cars

The down side of cell phones when doing business.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2016 by urbannight

I work in an incoming call center for auto claims. So if you get into an accident I take the first notice of loss report when you call in the claim. This can be relatively easy and satisfying, even, at times. The biggest problem isn’t the upset callers but the cell phone culture that we have developed.

1. People want to save time elsewhere by calling in while they are driving. If we tell them we can’t talk to them while they are driving they try to tell us that it is okay because they are using a blue tooth or other hand free system. This does not make it okay. Company policy is to not talk to drivers who are driving. This is distracted driving. There have been accidents while people were on the phone with their insurance companies. When taking a loss from you, we often ask for information for which you might have to look up or dig out. Then we often give you information we want you to write down. This cannot be done while you are driving.

2. Bad connections. Cell phones are a lot more likely to have bad connections than land lines. We have, as a society, chosen to give up clear connections for the convenience of always having phone access. This can be really problematic with dropped calls, static, sound distortion, people who sound like they wrapped their phone in cotton batting before they tried to use it, strange metallic sounds, and distracting echos. Not to mention cutting in and out and dropped calls. People then get pissed off if you have a problem hearing them or getting all the information because of these issues. And if the call drops because of a bad connection, or they are driving and they lie about it (believe me, it happens and we can tell), they call back saying we hung up on them.

3. Photo phones. This is where things get the most annoying. No one writes down the information anymore. They try to call in the loss and when I start asking questions they don’t have any information. They tell me it is on their phone and they don’t know how to access it while talking on the phone. Some people attempt to do so to varying degrees of success and failure. Other times, people take photos of documents and don’t realize they can’t read them or they cut off information they needed until they call it in. If they wrote it down, they wouldn’t have this problem. They also take photos of the damage and then when asked to describe the damage they can’t seem to figure it out from the photo.

If you plan to call in a claim and you put everything on your phone these steps will make things go more smoothly and much faster.

1. Check our photos, make sure you can read everything you might need. It would be best to actually take some paper and write the information down.

2. Call from a location where you normally have good reception. Do not call while driving. If at all possible, call from a land line. I do my personal calling from my work phone before or after work or during lunch so I can use a land line. I know that won’t work for everyone, but if you can, do so.

3. Information you will want to have: (the ideal)
a. Names, phone number, address of all parties involved.
b. Year, Make, Model, and VIN of all vehicles involved. Plates are good but VIN is best.
c. Description of damages to vehicles, were any vehicles towed away.
d. Basic descriptions of any injuries, or and awareness of who might have been injured. You won’t always see or know this, but try to keep an eye on what is going on around you.
e. Insurance company and policy numbers of other parties involved.

Try your best to get that information. Sometimes, the cops won’t let people talk to each other, but then the cops won’t provide any information either. Many places now require you to get the info online or order it and you have to pay for it. It seems like they are turning accidents into a money-making scheme. Sometimes one party involved is aggressive and threatening. In that case, stay in your car and call the police to handle things.

The Last Stand

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2013 by urbannight

Last Stand

This morning I went to see Schwarzenegger’s new film, The Last Stand.  I have to say that I did like it.

After so long out of the theaters, it did seem odd to hear Arnold’s heavy accent again.  Sure, he was in the Expendables 2 and had a moment in E1 but those parts could easily account for him being a foreign mercenary.   It was odd to hear a small town sheriff with a heavy Austrian accent.  But back in the day, we didn’t think twice about it.

The back story on the characters was scanty.  Poorly done.  Although, it would be more accurate to say that it felt like more had been done but ended up on the cutting room floor.  That said, the part of Agent John Bannister was particularly skimpy and under developed but Forest Whitaker did a good job with what he was given.  The most interesting character was probably Lewis Dinkum.  Johnny Knoxville seemed to have been channeling a toned down Murdock from the A-team.

You feel like you have entered these people’s lives in the middle and just get a view of one night and day.  Who they were before is not explored and who they may become as a result of these events is only hinted at in a few cases.  And for the purposes of this film, it works.  Except for the fact that I like to know a character’s motivations.  All we really know is that one group of people really just wants to keep the town save and get justice for the deaths of two of their own.

The film was filled with a fair number of very funny lines.  Everyone should know the line where Schwarzenegger says he is old.  It was in every trailer I saw.  The action seemed to work around the fact that Arnold is not as young as he once was and not in as good of shape.  The final fight scene is choreographed around the fact that Arnold is much bigger than the villain and incorporates mostly wrestling moves, giving the bigger, heavier Schwarzenegger the advantage over the smaller Eduardo Noriega, as his character keeps trying to rush headlong into each move.

Noriega also made a really sexy, if extremely dangerous, bad guy.  You almost wish you could have seen more of him outside of the car.  The other bad guys were the type of cannon fodder you were happy to see get wasted.

The movie is a fun ride but nothing that sets it ahead of other films.  On the other hand, there isn’t a lot to make it a horrible film either. The dialogue could have been written better and Arnold hasn’t gotten the feel for the delivery and timing like he used to have.  I blame it on the sheer amount of time he has been off the silver screen.  But I think it will come back to him with a little more practice.

I don’t give films a grade because I would then have to create a rubric that I would have to be able to apply to all films.   Maybe I will one day, but for now, I’ll just enjoy the shows and say what I like or didn’t like and leave it up to other people to create a grading structure.

This one I like, in a fun Saturday afternoon way.  Not great, not horrible, a few weak points but the fun of it over rides those.  Just a nice diversion.  Of course, if you want to take a look at what IMDB commentators are saying, they have already declared it a major flop and horrible and not worth viewing.  Personally, I don’t think it was THAT bad.  Like I said, a nice, Saturday afternoon diversion.

For all the ‘batty’ people out there…..

Posted in Entertainment, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2012 by urbannight

I got out of the Kia, turned around, and this greeted my face:

Batman and Robin. Better than all the ‘family’ decals on every other vehicle you see.

So, if you are Batman fan, a Robin fan, or a Nightwing fan, this ought to work for you on some level.

Randomness of Work Life

Posted in Life, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by urbannight
  1. If you are staring at the wall and realize that your vision is flickering in time to your pulse, you may have forgotten to take your blood pressure medicine that morning. Or maybe that week.  It’s just been on of those weeks.  The type of week you wish never happened.
  2. If you are heading to the bathroom and your coworker says you can’t, just tell him or her, “Okay, but I’ll just have to poo  at my desk then and you can put up with the smell.”  That should get him or her to change his or her mind.
  3. Planning work related gag gifts for a coworkers retirement is a fun way to kill part of the work day.  Way more fun that actual work.
  4. You never know who the practical joker in the unit will turn out to be.  I understand why I was asked if I had taken another coworker’s stuff from her desk.  I’m just suspicious that way.  But it the person who actually did it wasn’t one any of us expected it to be.
  5. Running though the halls screaming may seem like a great stress release.  Don’t do it. Just Do Not Do It.
  6. Some days, the correct course of action really is staying home and having a good stiff drink.  Preferably single malt Scotch.
  7. Avoid working in an auto claims department.  Even if you are in a job where your contact with claimants and insureds is rather minimal.  You will end up seeing everything people do wrong when driving and you will end up counting the number of almost accidents you saw on the way to work and the way home and any time you are in a car.  Even if you are not driving.

No Not Honk At Me

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2011 by urbannight

Do NOT Honk Your Horn at Me!

There is no law saying you MUST make a right turn on red. If the road is clear, and you came to a complete stop, you may make a right turn on red, but you are not obligated to do so.

If you are a bit preoccupied in the morning, and have something on your mind, and you stop at the red light and wait until the green, you are completely following the law and are not likely to cause an accident. (This was me this morning)

Now if you start honking your horn it does not make me go. It pisses me off. Some countries are aware of this reaction, and the fact that it is the most common reaction, and have actually passed laws against honking your horn at other drivers. If you honk your horn at me, I will most certainly wait for the light to turn green.

Now if you get pissed off because I am following all traffic laws to the exact letter and decided to pull around me and make a right hand turn around me on a red light, I believe that is actually an illegal move. (This was mister black car NE plate RVN (?) 797 [I think it was an N because after a while I realized I was repeating RV9 797 and that’s the only letter I can think off that would morph into a 9])

You are in fact the one who is more likely to get into an accident, or more properly, be the cause of an accident with some poor unsuspecting fellow.

Of course, I may be a little passive aggressive in not making a right on red if I don’t have to and someone it honking at me to do so. But this is Omaha and the city is notorious for bad driving.

Near work, there is a left turn lane that is for buses only. But cars use it all the time. Right in front of cop cars. The cops do nothing. When there is road construction and there is a ‘no left turn’ sign at the intersection, people completely ignore it on constantly turn left. The cops do nothing.

When you sit at an intersection and the light turns green for you to go straight across, you have to wait for between 2 and 6 cars still making left turns through the intersection. This city has more people running red lights than in any city I’ve ever lived or visited. You are driving down a busy, four lane road (in one direction) and someone in the far left lane decides he or she needs to make a right turn and does so, cutting off the other three lanes of oncoming traffic.

Lets not even talk about rain and snow. Okay, maybe I will. Rain seems to mean, “Speed up to get where you are going and out of it as quickly as possible.” You get to work and listen to the radio and hear of all sorts of accidents.

Winter is even worse. Every time it snows, it’s like Omahans have to totally relearn how to drive in the snow.

Every – Time – It – Snows.

Not each winter, each snow fall.

I’m from the mountains in North Idaho . At the first snow fall, I have to get the feel for it that one time. Then I’m good all winter long. I learned lots of tricks and methods to deal with getting around corners and getting unstuck and so on.

Most work better with a stick than with an automatic. Manuals are so much better for snowy areas than automatics yet for some reason, most people around here don’t drive them and when I had to replace my car with a used one, I couldn’t find a single used stick at all.

Well, I suppose this is the end of my rant. Time to go.