Coverville

A great podcast series. Almost all the music you’ll find on podcasts are touted as indie/unsigned artists. Or experimental remixes and mashups. Thats because podcasters aren’t broadcasters and they don’t pay music publishing and copyright fees that the airway and internet radio broadcasters do.

There’s one big exception, and I’ve been listening to this guy for over a year. He’s Brian Ibbott, and he’s the host of Coverville. He pays his fees, and he gets real artists and well known songs. Plus the occasional interview show.

I’ve discovered a lot of new artists through his 2-3X weekly podcasts. Many episodes have a theme, but some are just request shows. A great one to try out is his recent Led Zeppelin show, with some really entertaining takes on well-known LZ classics.

Verizon Contract Extensions

Last fall I added a line to our Verizon family plan for our exchange student. I requested the shortest contract period available, 1 year. I called verizon today to check on the exact contract term so that I could plan to terminate that line.

It turns out that on June 20th 2007 when I upgraded our family plan for more minutes, that automatically extended our contract term for ALL OUR PHONE LINES for 24 months. That means June 2009!! The early termination fee for canceling a line is $175.

I said this extension was not disclosed to me. The CSR said I clicked through an agreement and disclosure when I made the upgrade on the website. (probably so).

Nonetheless, I persisted. I asked to speak to a supervisor.   She refused.  I insisted she terminate my line without a fee.  She said she was unable.   I repeated my request.   Over and over.   She repeated her inability to do so.   Finally, I said ‘you will not be able to serve any other customers until you resolve this with me’.   She then put me on hold for a supervisor.

While I was on hold (for a very long time,) I googled the issue.  Turns out this is a common practice in the cell phone business. I was preparing my arguments, chiefly that its just not fair to penalize me for increasing my business with them.

Finally the CSR came back on the line and reported her supervisor had authorized her to credit the early termination fee for the telephone line.

I got further info. Our eligibility for phone upgrade discounts is not affected by the service contract extension.   If I choose to terminate all our service, there is a separate termination fee for each line.

Actually, I’ve been pretty happy with our Verizon service, so I’m pleased this worked out ok. But cell consumers beware – this is a common practice:

If you find that you’ve miscalculated your usage, you can easily change your rate plan, although that will likely result in an extension of your contract. –cnet.com cellphone buyers guide

It might not seem right but it is how they do business. Cell phone companies can extend your contract without you ever signing anything. Say you call up your cell phone company and you ask for more minutes or just an address to mail a check. You might find your contract has just been extended another two years. – MSNBC report

labor day weekend 2007

How was your holiday weekend? Mine was great:

Makeshift had a successful gig friday night at a coffee/wine bar. The owner liked the crowd so much she gave us a bonus. Saturday morning I got up early to drive rowers to their 6:30am call for crew practice, then returned home and did a 5 mile run. We had lunch and shopping with Millie and Seymour. In the afternoon I fixed the chlorinator for our pool, but alas, I can’t fix the washing machine which blew a belt this weekend. That evening, Linda and I had a rare night out at a local bar and caught a great R&B/top 40 band called The Resonators.

Sunday morning I skipped church to take my fishing boat out, and it was the most crowded I have ever seen Central Florida waterways. mad men, from AMCThe first boat ramp I tried at 6:30am was already out of parking spaces. However, I did get on the water, and between jet ski wakes, I managed a few fish. Sunday night Linda and I caught up with several episodes of a great new series called Mad Men, about the advertising business back in the early 60’s.

Monday we planned a beach day with the Issens and the Hunsickers. I went early with my kayak and launched in the glassy ocean right at sunrise. I paddled leisurely over a mile down the beach and then arrived back at the beach park just as Gina arrived with the Issens. In that early morning bite, I landed 4 small fish and got some valuable practice handling the small boat and fishing tackle.

We spent the rest of the morning surfing and eating as the beach grew more and more crowded. We pulled up stakes and headed home about 1pm, after which I took a nap.

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Der Fledermaus

I got an offer last week to appear in a second mainstage Orlando Opera production this season. Its Der Fledermaus, with performances February 15-19. This is great! The production schedule includes more staging rehearsals than I’ve ever had, so there must be a lot of stage business to prepare for. Also invited for this chorus: longtime singing buds Seth Elsheimer and Theresa S. So I look forward to a costumed reunion with them (pictured below in Pagliacci-2003 and Tosca-2006)

.Pagliacci, 2003 SBT_Tosca1470