Jack Williams Tire and Auto: UPDATE

A few months ago, I wrote about a bad situation I had with Jack Williams Tire and Auto at the Fairlane Village Mall in Pottsville. I am happy to report that the situation has been remedied.

Richie at Jack Williams did everything he could to help me out. Here’s a brief back-story: I took my Jeep for an inspection and oil change back in March. Upon leaving, I had issues with the new brakes they installed and also had no oil pressure at idle.

I returned to Jack Williams to have the brakes fixed, which was done quickly. The oil pressure issues persisted. Richie kept my Jeep at Jack Williams for nearly two weeks, one of which I was on vacation in California, and did everything he could to fix the problem (and at no cost to me). It was eventually found that adding Lucas Oil Stabilizer to the engine restored my oil pressure.

I greatly appreciate what Richie did for me, and how hard he worked to correct the issues I had. This is why I had always gone to JW in the first place, and never had any issues, and will likely continue going there in the future.

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Campaign for Fred Wilpon to sell the Mets

One Mets fan is mad as hell after Fred Wilpon’s controversial comments yesterday, and has started an open letter online to the Wilpon family.

You can view the site here: FRED WILPON, SELL THE METS NOW!

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OpenDNS FTW!

So, I had been having trouble with my internet connection lately (Comcast, go figure). It was similar to the issues I was having late last year, where multiple times a day my connection would slow to a crawl, stop, then come back a few minutes later.

Enter, OpenDNS. I signed up last week, and switched the DNS entries in my router to use OpenDNS servers. It seems to have made a difference – while I haven’t been completely issue-free, I definitely haven’t noticed the issues as much as I did previously.

Also, it gives you cool tools to monitor your network – such as logs of what domains you’ve visited and blacklists for blocking domains. It could be a great tool for something like a family trying to block porn sites from being browsed on their network by their kids.

I signed up for the free version, but they do also offer a more robust version for $9.99 per year (no, that’s not a typo, it’s only $10 for the entire year).

What does this lead me to believe? Comcast’s DNS sucks. It’s possible that wasn’t the issue, but I find it hard to believe that it’s a complete coincidence. I can highly recommend OpenDNS, for now. If I start encountering issues that make me change my mind, you can be sure I’ll voice those opinions here.

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My horrific experience with Jack Williams Tire and Auto

Apparently, both malls in Schuylkill County suck. I wrote earlier about the Schuylkill Mall, today I had a not-so-fun experience with the Fairlane Village Mall.

The story starts here: my Jeep inspection runs out tomorrow. I decided to take it to Jack Williams Tire and Auto at the Fairlane Village Mall in Pottsville, to get an inspection done. That’s about the only good thing that will come from this story – that I decided to get it done today rather than wait til the last day tomorrow.

Let me start by saying I have had my vehicles inspected at Jack Williams in Pottsville many times before, without any issues. I’ve bought tires from them before, no problem. Today though was anything but smooth sailing…

Considering I just bought my Jeep in October, I figured this would be a quick trip. It shouldn’t have needed much work to pass, I figured. Just a simple inspection and oil change. I guess that was my first mistake. About an hour after dropping it off, I got a call from JW – I needed new front rotors to pass inspection. After a few seconds of anger, I told them to go ahead and take care of it.

About a half hour later, I picked the Jeep up. $265-ish was the final bill. I got about a half mile out of the mall parking lot when I realized something was wrong…as I applied the brakes doing 45mph, the steering wheel and brake pedal started shaking rather violently. I thought, “maybe this is common with new rotors.” Upon the advice of a few friends, I took the Jeep back after work a few hours later.

They spent another hour and a half resurfacing the rotors. Now the real fun begins – my check gauges light is on constantly at idle (apparently from low oil pressure according to the gauge), and they somehow made the brakes WORSE. Stopping feels like the wheels are going to fall off, and there’s now a clicking noise coming from the rear wheels too. They told me to bring it back in the morning, and they’re going to get me another new set of rotors. At this point I’m not optimistic that this will be resolved tomorrow…

So to sum it up: I went in for a simple inspection and oil change. I left with the wheels feeling like they’re going to fall off when I hit the brakes, clicking noises from the back wheels when braking, and a check gauges light on perpetually at idle. Thanks, Jack Williams.

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It’s sad what the Schuylkill Mall has become…

If you’re in the middle of Schuylkill County and need some nice clothes, come to the Gap store at the Schuylkill Mall (easily the most friendly and courteous employees of any major clothing retailer I’ve ever set foot in).

If you’re a woman in need of some lingerie, this is your place – there’s a Victoria’s Secret here too.

If you want some great scents for yourself or your home, there’s a Bath and Body Works here, too.

That being said- it’s sad to think, I used to come here with my mom on a regular basis when I was a kid.  Now there’s almost nothing worth even coming here for…save for the three stores I just mentioned.  It’s 7pm on a Tuesday night and there might, MIGHT be 100 people in the building…INCLUDING employees.

Most of the mall is empty storefronts, just like a few of the pictures posted here – Kay Jewelers is the latest victim.  The roof leaks everywhere.  The movie theater is a joke.

The mall desperately needs a major store to come save it.  Aeropostale and their cheap clothing would probably do very well here…but how do you convince them to come? 

I’ve said for a while now that the mall owner should offer one or two major retailers free rent for a year if they agree to sign a lease.  If one comes, others will follow. 

The problem is, how do you get a corporation that has enough money to play Sirius/XM for an empty mall but doesn’t have the cash to fix a roof that has been leaking for 15+ years to do something that makes sense?  Perhaps Fameco is part of the problem. If you’re out there listening, please put some money and effort into this place…it was great once, help it get there again.

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The PIAA is bass-ackwards

Pottsville’s boys’ basketball team has had a great season. They finished the regular season 21-1, 12-0 in Division I of the Schuylkill League. They won the Schuylkill League championship. They won two of three games (their first wins in AAAA district play in 10 years) in the District 11 AAAA tournament to advance to the state playoffs.

Here they are, the third seed out of District 11, scheduled to play Neshaminy (21-6), the fourth seed from District 1, in the opening round of the PIAA state playoffs. How are they rewarded for this? The game is being played at Council Rock South High School, in Holland. CR South is 20 minutes away from Langhorne, which is where Neshaminy is located. From Pottsville, it’s a 2 hour car ride – probably considerably longer on a bus.

Add in the fact that Neshaminy is the fourth ranked team in the state in AAAA (all of the top four teams are the top four finishers from the District 1 playoffs), and Pottsville has quite an uphill climb ahead of them on Saturday. I don’t understand why the game couldn’t have been scheduled somewhere in Allentown (Allen, Dieruff, or Parkland come to mind as places that are big enough to host a AAAA playoff game), or Reading (Reading High School, or Governor Mifflin). Both of these cities would have been just about halfway between Pottsville and Langhorne.

To have the team that’s a higher seed out of their district, AND has a better record, traveling for 2+ hours while the other team has just a quick 20 minute car ride to the game site is asinine, period.

ROLL TIDE!

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Woot Formula

Ever looked back at the previous items from a Woot-Off (or even just a regular Woot item from a few days ago), and wondered how to figure out what one of them sold for? Now you can find it out, rather easily, using this formula and two pieces of information from the first post in every forum posting…

( Woot Wage * order pace ) / 3600 = roughly the amount the item sold for

In other words (for those of you not mathematically inclined), multiple the Woot Wage (which they note is revenue per hour) by the order pace (in seconds), then divide by 3600. It will get you pretty damn close to the price that each item sold for…

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Martz Madness!

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That is all…

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My plan for re-aligning the Schuylkill League in basketball

It’s really simple, actually, even for a league that is so bottom heavy (so many small schools and not as many big ones).  The Berks IC (which Pottsville and Blue Mountain are already members of for football) already does it this way, and does it right in my opinion.

Four divisions.

Division I – Pottsville (AAAA), Blue Mountain (AAA), North Schuylkill (AAA), Jim Thorpe (AAA), Tamaqua (AAA)

Division II – Minersville (AA), Schuylkill Haven (AA), Williams Valley (AA), Pine Grove (AA)

Division III – Panther Valley (AA), Marian (A), Mahanoy Area (A), Weatherly (A)

Division IV – Shenandoah Valley (A), Tri Valley (A), Nativity (A), Lourdes (A)

Panther Valley goes into a division with Marian, Mahanoy Area and Weatherly because one AA team had to play down, and geographically that division makes the most sense.

Division I teams would play 12 league games – each other team in their division twice, plus one crossover game each with the D-II teams.  Division II teams would play 11, under the same format.  Division III and Division IV teams would play 14 league games each, playing two each against both the other 3 teams in their division as well as two games against the four teams in the other division.

No wild card teams.  The four division winners make the playoffs, that’s it.

If you’re going to force the bigger schools to play four games a year against AA schools, you might as well at least divide it up this way so that there’s no wild-card to worry about.  It also gives the bigger schools a chance to play a wider variety of competition.  Pottsville may have been better served this year with one game against Minersville (18-4), rather than having to play two against Panther Valley (9-13).

In an ideal world, you’d just have the divisional games and that’s it – but I’m not sure if there’s a requirement on how many league games a team has to play in a year.  I suppose you could just have each team play the other teams in its division three or four times, but I’m not sure there’s any league out there that does that either.

Four divisions is the most fair and equitable way to do it.  It’s that simple.

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Martz madness starts tomorrow…

…and it leads me to wonder, why don’t they ever put in to host the state championship games?  Best atmosphere in PA for high school basketball, hands down.

Yes, the parking / traffic and hotel situations would be a nightmare…and yes, the place only seats 4500…but why couldn’t they put in temporary bleachers around the top?  It could probably increase capacity to somewhere between 6-7k or so for those games…

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