The Judge shook her finger…

It was my turn. I asked the man at the defendant’s podium to state his title once again: “Qwest Communications, Customer Advocate.” Scattered sniggers arose from the back of the court room. Appreciative of the support, I shot a not-very-discreet grin in their direction. Interesting, I thought (and should have pointed out) that Qwest chose a “Customer Advocate” to represent their greedy position that I owed them not one, but two, Early Termination Fees for one “Bundle” contract that they had breached.

It cost maybe a little more to take them to small claims court than it would have to just pay them their fee, but it’s the principle, you understand. Although I did not prevail in my request for damages, I was vindicated by the court’s decision to deny Qwest their counter claim. I was more than satisfied to hear Her Honor tell the “Customer Advocate” that Qwest’s practices were “deceptive”, “improper” and “inappropriate”. Now it’s done and I owe them nothing.

The details of my case are not unique. Take a look at The BBB‘s breakdown of Qwest’s complaints before you agree to anything with this corporate bully.

To quickly summarize; 4,095 complaints in 36 months. 2,464 for Billing or Collection Issues, 676 for Sales Practice Issues, 479 for Customer Service Issues, 430 for Contract Issues…The list goes on.

Hope this helps!

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Project (Epi) Les Paul

I love stringed instruments, as much for their visual appeal and individuality as for their sound. Since their value isn’t limited to the aesthetic, I would sooner decorate my walls with any number of mandolins, banjos, guitars, cellos etc, than spend thousands on other hanging art.

But just as much as randomly pulling a piece off of the wall and playing it, I enjoy maintaining, repairing and occasionally modifying guitars.

Over the past decade or so, I’ve amassed all the parts to add some active pickups and get rid of the gold tone hardware on my Les Paul. But as I got ready to disassemble it, my breakfast threatened to come up, and I decided, on the spot, that this beaut would remain intact (it’s a Gibson, after all).

It was perfect justification for the acquisition of another guitar.

Last week, I hit Craigslist (Cracklist, my brother calls it) and found a clean but neglected Epiphone Les Paul for $250 bones. The strings are rusty and improperly wound, but the frets are basically new, neck relief is within limits and the flamed maple Cherry Burst finish is very nice, it just needs a little cleaning up.

Neglected LP

So I proceeded to take it completely apart, clean, polish and buff the fretboard with some quadruple zero (0000) steel wool.

Nothing like a carved, figured maple top

So I proceeded to take it completely apart, clean, polish and buff the fretboard with some quadruple zero (0000) steel wool, remove the surface the gooblies and polish it up. Most of what I have learned over the years, I owe to this book: Guitar Player Repair Guide, by Dan Erlewine. As a side note, I always keep the old parts in case I ever want to restore a guitar to its original state.

I installed the EMG pickups, but since my soldering skills are lacking…(well…OK they suck), I had my local guitar dude at Zephyr Guitars solder up the electronics. He did a killer job – although I do my own setups, he needed to check his work, so he strung it and set it up for nothing additional. It sounds amazing, both clean and dirty, and it plays like you’d expect from a well set-up Epi LP.

Doesn’t look too bad either IMHO.

Posted in DIY, Guitars, Music | 1 Comment

Hello world!

Guten Tag!

So this is my “first crack” at what I expect to become a new hobby. Although I’m new to blogging, the mental gears are turning day and night (I can’t help it!), so making it interesting should just be a matter of finding my voice and delivery style. I hope to enlist your support in developing that – constructive criticism is not only welcome but requested.

So what’s this about? A little bit of everything; health & fitness, green energy, human anatomy and physiology, recommended activities for adrenalyn junkies, foreign languages, home improvement, camping, do-it-yourself auto repair, diesel performance and economy, bio-diesel/dino-diesel, technical canyoneering, repair and maintenance of guitars, amateur gunsmithing and my personal favorite: red wine.

I aim to keep the metaphorical glass half-full, but I’ll be back by the end of the week with some specific insight on doing business with Qwest Communications. (If you’re about to start with them, you’ll want to Yahoo “Qwest sucks” – there were 1,260,034 entries as of 12:25 PM MST).


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Great $10 bottle of red

Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo/Garnacha.

I freakin’ love Spanish wines.

Posted in Health, Uncategorized, Wine | Leave a comment