Thursday, December 23, 2010

A little (or a long) vacation ...

Just a quick "thank you" to all of you who still visit Politizine and OurConcord even though I haven't been posting much. Family and work have been taking a lot of my life of late. The former is fine; I won't get into the latter except to say that I have had a disappointing few weeks but I think 2011 will be an interesting year.
Politizine, specifically, enters its ninth year of existence this week. It's hard to believe that but it's true. Readership has fluctuated from the hundreds to the thousands and back down again, depending on what I have written about or how many other people linked to my site. OurConcord was created and grew out of a frustration with local media outlets not really getting at the heart of many stories. I have been very happy with some of that work. But it can be a daunting, exhaustive task.
Despite all that I have done at this point in my life, I'm facing 45 and I'm really beginning to wonder about things. It isn't just the economy or a moment in time or anything like that. It's just become very clear that I have not been setting priorities. I thought I was, but I wasn't (once again). I have to look no further than the piles of paper in different places in my home, the list of things I have been wanting to get done, both personally and professionally, etc., to see that I have not been focused. Things are not where they should be.
Thankfully, we're not hoarders, not like those folks on television, which is frightening to see. We don't have a lot even though we have much more than some. But even though I'm considered one who takes actions, I do put things off ... and then put them off and put them off again. I always have. It's time though to stop putting things off. And, I need to take some time off.
I'm going on a little or a long vacation. I'm not sure which yet. I'll let you all know in January, when I get back. I don't know what role Politizine or OurConcord play in my future.
I'm wondering about a lot of things lately. But know and understand that I have appreciated your readership, time, and comments about what I have been doing with these sites.
Have a great holiday season. Merry Christmas. And talk to you all again soon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What happened to selling the buildings?

First, it's a community center at the Dame Elementary School, now this: ["Ex-school as police station? Not so fast"]. A simple question: What happened to selling the buildings? What happened to offsetting the debt with the millions that could be brought in from selling these school buildings? This is all just very crazy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Writer warns, don't go to PC Wizard

Guest perspective by Andy Sylvia

I don’t have a huge selection of Xbox games, but the one or two games I played most of the time worked fine until about a month or two ago. I was getting messages that my discs were unreadable at random times. I went down to a local GameStop and found out the problem was my Xbox, as they also got the same message with one of their new games.

So, after unsuccessfully trying to fix the problem with a disc cleaner that Best Buy suggested, I looked all around New England for someplace that could fix my Xbox. I figured Microsoft wouldn’t help since this was a replacement for an Xbox that had the red rings of death last year, and even if they did, I’ve heard horror stories about them.

A friend suggested I check out PC Wizard in on Loudon Road in Concord, so I gave it to them.

They charged $29.99 for the repairs, saying it was an optical lens problem and they could clean it. It would be done in about three days, and I said I would be back in town in four days, so that was fine.

I picked up the Xbox, brought it home later that night, and it was worse off than when I brought it in; before the game at least worked some of the time, now they didn’t work at all on the system.

I came back in asking for a refund, the man there, some guy with a beard, was extremely rude and refused the refund and I said I would spread the word about this experience, which he welcomed. That’s why I’m here today.

I filed a report with the Better Business Bureau, but this whole ordeal has just proven too tiresome, and I didn’t expect to ever get justice from this guy, so I just sold the Xbox to that GameStop at a reduced price (the optical lens ruined the system overall, but the other parts worked apparently, I was able to get to the dashboard at least even after this guy ruined my system) and bought a used one to replace it.

Still, I hope my experience can help other consumers in the Concord area to stay away from being ripped off by this guy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

See, I told you!

Recently, the Concord Monitor reported that the Concord School District secured its funding for the elementary school consolidation projects at a very low interest rate, less than 4 percent.
With interest and state funding, the final cost of the entire project will be about $112 million, assuming no major (more than the 10-15 percent budgeted) cost overruns occur during the demolition and construction phase of the projects (I should note that this price does not include all the money already spent to get the district to this point, which would probably be another $1 million and change, when including interest).
In other words, as I have been saying for about four years now, the project will be in the $100 to $150 million range, albeit on the low side of that guess.
That said, no apologies necessary from all the naysayers who said I was lying or that my figures were too high or that I didn't know what I was talking about or anything else. No need. I, and many others, who know municipal budgets and finance, told you all how much the final costs would be and we were right all along, despite your protestations, ignorance, and personal attacks.