#BeccaTakesBoston

On June 1, I moved to the city of Boston. After many months of searching for a place to call home, I finally found where I was meant to be. It’s only been three weeks, but I have definitely fallen for this city.

It’s taking some time to adjust to the many differences of living in a major city versus the small-ish rural-ish town of Lutz, Florida, but I’m embracing every moment of it. To put it simply, Boston is magical. And that’s a lot coming from a girl who spent the last few years living and working at the most magical place on Earth.

My master’s program at BU doesn’t begin until Sept. 2, and my goal is to try and accomplish as much as I can between now and then (on a twentysomething’s budget of course). So follow my journey using #BeccaTakesBoston and please let me know if you have any recommendations on must-see, must-do things in this town!

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Help! My car is rotting: How Toyota failed me

***UPDATE***

10/11/2014 I am getting more and more comments and I continue to see these cars everywhere I go. Please LIKE this Facebook page I created and perhaps we can finally get this the attention it deserves!

https://www.facebook.com/ToyotaRust

Nov. 7, 2013 – 6 p.m.

Let me start off by saying that I should’ve written this more than a year ago…

My car: 2006 Blue Toyota Corolla

Mileage: Just hit 70,000 miles

Past issues: None – I’ve never missed a service.

I just got off the phone with Toyota. Again. Every single time I get off of the phone with them I’m left with the same story: “We’re sorry Ms. Forman, but your vehicle falls outside of the 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty. There is nothing we can do for you at this time.”

The problem I have with that statement, is that the issue I’m having didn’t start until long after the warranty ended.

See, a little over a year ago, I noticed an odd discoloration on the roof of my car. First it was just a patch. And then it was two patches. And then it spread. Like a disease. My car looks like it has a disease. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Note: I took these photos about an hour ago…

Image

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The disease is spreading…

So what do you do when you have a problem? You Google it. And when you google this problem, a plethora of results emerge:

Check it out:

  1. http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/2006/consumer-discussions.html
  2. http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f19d878/212
  3. http://www.topix.com/forum/autos/toyota-camry/T7KNSSJUAKT2TPCN4/p6
  4. Look at poor Judy! (hers is a 2010) 
  5. And so on and so forth…

Naturally, I took my car in to my trusted dealership, Toyota of Tampa Bay, and they gave me a repair estimate of $1,200 (this was before it spread). I was told this wasn’t just a regular paint job and that they would need my car for up to four days. “Would this be something you would like to do?” they asked me.

I’m sorry. But at the time, I had final exams and obviously did not have an extra grand lying around that I could use to fix something that wasn’t even close to being my fault in the first place.

Several estimates and auto mechanics later, I’m being told the same thing: the paint on your vehicle was applied incorrectly. But Toyota doesn’t want to hear any of that.

The mechanic I saw in June (and just got off of the phone with) told me that I should just trade my car in. “At this point, just get rid of it,” he told me.

Really, Toyota? That’s it? Oh yeah, because I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of $$ for my trade-in with it looking like that. Even though, otherwise, my car is in better-than-great condition.

I know this site does not get a ton of views, and to Toyota, I’m just one person, with one car. But I know I’m not alone. I’ve walked up to strangers, probably 15+ as a matter of fact, who have the same problem with their Toyota. I saw one this very afternoon.

I know the easy thing to do is to just give up. Get a new car. Because that’s just so easy (my car is paid off and I like not having the expense of a monthly car payment).

So please. If you’re reading this, and have the same problem, or know someone who does…please leave a comment. Share this even. I’d like to not completely lose my faith in customer service.

When things fall into place: #EIJ13

Last September, I attended Excellence in Journalism 2012 #EIJ12 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I’m from Florida so it made sense to go. My SPJ chapter went as a group and made the four-hour trek south to the convention. It was definitely a new experience and certainly a rewarding one. I mean, how often do journalists from all across the nation come together for a weekend in the name of all things journalism?

But, as much fun as it was, I figured I probably wouldn’t get the chance to attend again anytime soon. I knew the location changed every year and I assumed next year’s event would probably be on the other side of the country. And I was right.

However, this past January I began working for The Walt Disney Company, which led to me having roommates. One of my roommates, the one I shared a room with, is from the Los Angeles area. This past April, said roomie invited me to go home with her to California — which ended up being my very first trip to Cali! Fast forward a few months later to find out that not only is this year’s convention IN California, but it’s being held across. the. street. from. DISNEYLAND. Really? What are the chances?

So, four months later and I am preparing for a journey out west once again. Isn’t it funny how life works out sometimes? It is truly remarkable how seemingly little choices and decisions can affect other aspects of your future. It’s fascinating to reflect on the little web that is your life and the zillion degrees of separation that form and intertwine from within it.

So, here is what I’m looking forward to:

  1. IN-N-OUT (Hey, at least I’m being honest here.)
  2. Yes, journalism. Of course. It’s always fun to be in a room with other crazy newsies.
  3. Being reunited with my roomie!
  4. Cali weather & landscape (a.k.a. me staring out of the window the entire flight with my jaw to the floor from seeing land that isn’t flat. I still love ya, Florida…)
  5. DISNEYLAND – #DUH. I mean, I’ve only spent one day out of my entire life in this resort, so there is SO much more for me to see and explore. Funny sidenote: the convention is giving each participant two free park hopper tickets. OF COURSE THEY ARE…now that I can get myself in no problem. See, life wins again.
  6. Seeing Jason Mraz in concert on Labor Day. That’ll be one off the bucket list.
  7. The culture & languages – I can practice my Mandarin AND my Spanish all in the same day!
  8. Being somewhere else.
  9. Not knowing what the day will bring.
  10. Making new life connections – who knows where these new stories and experiences may take me!
EIJ12 Welcome Reception: USF SPJ with our genius professor!

EIJ12 Welcome Reception: USF SPJ with our genius professor!

Saving a life

I’ve been meaning to blog about this since it happened. I mean, it’s not every day you save a life…

I’ll stop being vague and tell you that it was a dog’s life that was saved. So, no, it wasn’t a human life, but for most, pets are just as important and meaningful as their human counterparts.

So how did it all happen? Well, my boyfriend and I had gone to see the 11:15 p.m. showing of “Lawless.” [The movie was really well done, if you’re wondering. Tom Hardy can be in every movie from now on as far as I’m concerned. Shia LaBeouf did a really great job as well.]

Anyway, we were driving home from the movie theatre when we came to a stop at a red light. And out of the corner of my eye I see this little dog scurrying around the street.

It was after two in the morning at this point, so the traffic wasn’t too heavy, but there were enough cars going by to make me hold my breath. The idea of watching an animal get run over is about as devastating as any and sitting by and letting it happen was not an option for us. To make the situation at least a little comedic, the dog was following around an armadillo. He didn’t really look scared of anything.

We pulled over to the side of the road and I motioned to the furry guy to come over to me. And what were the chances that a cop car was coming around the corner at the same exact moment…

“Is that your dog?” the female cop asked.

Do people normally chase their dogs around main roads at two in the morning? I’ve never seen that happen, but I’m guessing this cop has seen lots of things I haven’t.

I thought it was a great stroke of luck having a police officer show up right when we needed one, as I thought she would take him off of our hands, but she quickly told us she had just ended a 12-hour shift and wouldn’t be able to take the dog anywhere.

Great. What now?

***

It was obvious that the doggy had been groomed recently, so I knew he wasn’t a stray. Someone loved this dog.

Oh. But I forgot to mention the worst part of the situation. This poor little guy smelled like DEATH. Who knows how long he had been running around. Tropical Storm Isaac had just left us, so perhaps he’d been lost since then. But the smell was  HORRIFIC. But what were we to do? Catch him only to release him back into the night?

The officer said there was a 24-hour emergency vet not too far down the road, so we resolved ourselves to at least try that option. My 2006 Toyota Corolla is by no means spotless, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious to let him roam all over it.

I Googled the nearest vet, only to be told that it’s ‘against their policy to hold any animals overnight.’ But, bringing him to my house was not an option, so we decided to take him to the emergency vet anyway.

To our surprise, the dog was very well-behaved on the drive over. He walked around from the backseat to my lap quite a few times, sniffing the air out of the rolled down windows. He was a white dog, but that was hard to see with all of the dirt and muck on his fur.

The emergency vet office was empty except for one distraught couple sitting with their pet, which was pretty difficult to see. However, it reminded me that perhaps we were saving another couple from the same predicament.

We pushed the front desk button and a young woman in scrubs, probably in her late 20’s, came out to greet us. She did a quick once over of the dog, checking his overall well-being and his teeth to guesstimate his age. She put a leash on him and took him behind the door to check for a microchip.

I paced around the office thinking of what to do if no one would take him. I’ve always wanted a dog but just don’t have the money or time a dog deserves. Plus, I wanted the potential owner to have a chance to have their family member back.

The woman returned to tell us that the dog we had was named “Cody.” So he DID have a microchip, after all! They did try to get in touch with the owner, but no one was answering. They left the owner a message, but who knows when he or she would return the call.

If my kitty, Kali, were missing, I would keep my phone next to me at all hours of the night, but who knows what their situation was. So, at this moment, the lady reminded us that they couldn’t keep him. So it was on to the next option.

I contacted another 24-hour emergency vet that was about a 15 minute drive away. The woman who answered sounded very tired and hesitant to even entertain my call, reminding me that it was Labor Day weekend and they needed to keep as much room as possible in their facility for pets who needed medical attention.

But, when I assured her that this dog was small and under 10 pounds, she told me to “bring him over.” Success.

The weirdest thing about the dog? He did not bark ONE TIME the entire time we had him.

By this point, I’m reminding myself to not get attached to this animal. I have that problem. I see any animal and I instantly want to bring them home. However, I was keeping the owner in mind and I knew deep down that I couldn’t keep him anyway.

We dropped him off at the other vet. Two women were on duty and both seemed so emotionally detached in comparison to how we felt in that moment. But, they see that kind of thing all the time, so I guess they’re used to it. One of the women took Cody behind the doors to give him a bath. YAY. Just what he needed.

We signed some papers, leaving our contact information. It was clear that we could leave by this point, but we felt the need to stay and make sure he was taken care of. It felt silly to ask, but I asked if we could see him one last time. We couldn’t pass up the chance to see him clean.

We went into the back, where all of the caged animals are kept and there sat little Cody. He was shivering from his bath, and this was the first time he actually looked scared. But, his fur was white again, so that made me happy. He sat up, looked at us with his big, dark eyes and we said goodbye.

“Thanks for the adventure, Cody,” I said. “Now you’re safe and you won’t get run over by a car.”

We slowly but surely left the building and got back into the car.

*Sniff* “Yup, there’s Cody.” He was gone, but his smell was still left behind. So we rolled the windows down and started to drive home.

Not quite what I expected for Friday date night.

***

The saddest part about the entire thing? We never heard anything after the whole ordeal. We had been told we would get a call when the owner picked Cody up, but we never did.

I ended up calling the next day, only to be told that, ‘he wasn’t in his cage when I got here this morning, so I guess he was picked up.’

No phone call. No message from the owner. Not even a thank you.

I realize that isn’t why you do good deeds. You don’t save an animal from being run over in hopes of a reward. But if some young couple had gone out of their way at THREE IN THE MORNING to save my pet, I would personally write a letter thanking them. I’d probably bake them cookies. And then send them a follow-up note. I guess I’m just weird like that.

***

So, Cody, I hope you’re snuggled up somewhere warm right now. It stormed last night and I wondered how many animals were lost out there in the rain. Hopefully Cody wasn’t one of them.

Exciting things on the horizon!

Hello there, world!

It’s truly amazing how quickly life changes. I have learned a lot about the media industry, and people, in a very short span of time. The saying is true: when one door closes, another opens. I’m feeling very happy and excited about the many opportunities out there and I don’t intend on wasting any of them!

The fall semester starts on Monday and I’m actually excited for it. I’m very near to graduation, so that might have something to do with it, ha ha. I’ll be taking Public Affairs Reporting, which I’m sure will only strengthen my fact-checking super powers. I also signed up to take Mandarin Chinese. The language has always fascinated me and it’s only spoken by like a billion people, so I figure it can’t hurt to try it out.

This will also be my first semester as vice president of SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists, for those not up to speed.) The executive board has come up with several ideas for the semester and I’m amped about our potential. Next month, we’ll be attending the Excellence in Journalism conference in Fort Lauderdale, which should also be a wonderful networking opportunity.

Another opportunity (I notice a theme going on in this blog post) I’m going to try for is a Disney Professional Internship. If you’ve read my “About Me” section, or taken a glance at my résumé, you already know that I’m a Disney College Program alumni (Fall 2007 represent!) Well, this internship is a step beyond that and is a very competitive position. So if the Mouse offers me a spot, I’ll be moving back to Orlando coming January 2013. Zip-ah-dee-doo-dah, indeed.

Other than that, I’m still tweeting, Pinning and Instagram-ing up a storm, watching copious amounts of The Newsroom, Storage Wars and True Blood, counting down the days until season 3 of The Walking Dead, missing Ireland, bracing for Hurricane Isaac (and the RNC), working on my fitness and…pretty much enjoying what life has to offer…which is a lot. Hope you’re doing the same.

P.S. I’ve finally posted a few photos under the Photography tab…so go check ’em out!

P.S.S. (lol) As I type this, I have 1,137 views on this here WordPress. So I know I’m getting some traffic…why not leave me a comment?

Check out a recent story I did on a USF student who will soon embark on his first mission trip!

JOU 2100 Reporting

It’s a hot and sticky afternoon at USF’s Bull Market. David Guetta’s “Turn Me On” plays on loudly, while table representatives eagerly tout their goods and services. Farther down the line, two young men wearing white, button-down shirts, ties and dark slacks stand on the sidewalk, smiling at passers-by. Their nametags reveal they are elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are serving their mission in Florida.

The display table is for the USF Latter Day Saints Student Association and is covered with religious literature. Copies of The Book of Mormon, For the Strength of Youth – Fulfilling Our Duty to God and The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are ready for distribution.

Behind the table sits a young man wearing a black T-shirt and khaki shorts, and although he may not be dressed the part, he, too, will soon begin a mission…

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