and so, once again…

and so, once again, the battle of (someone else’s) computer has come to an inconclusive end.

i still have one open ticket with the VPN folks: they updated the VPN software for the tablet, which means that now it’ll connect after i reboot it, but if it comes disconnected for some reason, the only way to get it to reconnect is to reboot the entire tablet… which, while better than not being able to connect at all, is still a major hassle. i’m not holding my breath that it’s going to get fixed soon, as my current tablet can’t be upgraded beyond a version that is three full versions behind the current one… 😐

my email works — or, rather, isn’t giving me timeout errors every time i send email. monique’s email is working again, although she’s lost her address book and her signature files, and the two mailing lists of which i am in charge, seem to be working, with third-party verification. i’m also paying about twice as much as i was with the old host provider, but, with the new host provider, i’m actually an “official” reseller, which means that, now, i have access to WHM, which i never have before… but i’m not sure, at this point, whether or not it’s a “good” thing. at this point, i have updated all of my domains’ MX records to the new host provider (something i was never able to do before), without knowing for sure whether or not i have done the right thing. at this point, two days later, it still works as far as i have been able to tell, nothing has broken as far as i can tell, and nobody has complained to me that their shit isn’t working, so i’m nominally calling it complete, but i wish there were some way that i could be sure…

the battle…

the battle of other peoples’ computer started before i left for the fair.

about a week before the fair, my (now former) host provider decided to move the machine on which all of my web sites live from californa to florida. in the move, they somehow freaked out my VPN, because it started giving me an error that said “socket operation timed out” whenever i tried to send email. i could receive email just fine, but no sending.

and, because of the fact that the VPN isn’t SUPPOSED to interfere with normal network functions, i didn’t suspect that was the cause.

then my clients started reporting intermittent email failures. so i contacted my (now former) host provider and inquired about answers to what you would expect to be their problem (since they are, now “were”, my host provider).

as the week progressed, there was also concern that my scheduled web maintenance (which i wanted to have happen before the fair) was not possible, because of the ongoing problems with the web server, combined with the host-provider-support-drones who couldn’t speak english, answered (or not) only one question at a time, and who persisted in giving me scripted instructions for how (not) to fix the problem on a windoesn’t machine.

fortunately, most of my clients were also at the fair, and couldn’t access their email anyway. i gave up after being there one day, and only getting spotty WIFI coverage on my personal hotspot.

when i got home, much to my surprise, the ticket i had opened to fix the problem had been closed, but there had been no “fixing”… they closed the ticket because i hadn’t responded to it in three days, not because they had fixed the problem. almost as though they thought, if i wasn’t there to harrass them, there wasn’t a problem that they needed to work on.

i reprimanded them, and proceded to deal with my, now worsening, email problem. macque couldn’t access the list, monique’s email was spotty at best, a number of people said they had “given up” on getting messages to the list, and i STILL could only receive email, but not send.

i tried to deal with the now former web host for another week, getting less and less actual information, and more and more frustrated with my inability to communicate in anything like english (which strikes me as somewhat odd, given that it’s a british company, located in london). finally i had enough, and switched host providers…


it’s been about five years since i switched to EZPZ and ended my spree of switching host providers about every 6 months for a couple of years, and, at first, they were cheap AND excellent host providers… but in the past couple of years, i guess they must have outsourced their support, or something, because suddenly their tech support got CONSIDERABLY worse, and their language skills steadily decreased to the point where i would have to, DELIBERATELY avoid asking more than one question per ticket, in order to get anything close to a complete answer…

so, i switched host providers about a week ago. they quickly diagnosed my VPN problem, and got monique’s email working, sort of… but i forgot that i don’t have complete control over all my domains (Rev. Guido DeLuxe is actually the owner of two of them), and, instead of getting better, monique’s email problem actually got worse…

and the new host provider — ionblade — had conveniently forgotten to add “mailing lists” to my cpanel, so the two mailing lists i manage were completely offline…

and, meanwhile, i had to explain to macque that sending to “official-list-owner” sent mail to me, while sending to “official-list” sent mail to the list, and, because of the fact that i couldn’t send email, i couldn’t actually do something sensible, like forward his message… and even if i had been able to forward his message, i would have gotten a bounce also, because the FUCKING EMAIL LIST WAS DOWN!!

i actually helped them diagnose the VPN problem: i learned that i could access webmail at hybridelephant, but that it forwarded me to their server, and i could send from that, which i did for about a week. then the VPN updated, and quit working all together on my tablet, which meant that i had to do the “run-around” on my linux box when i absolutely HAD to respond to someone. basically, i took the message to which i had to respond, responded in my email client, copied the message, switched to a browser with webmail open, hit “compose new message” and pasted the message into that, in order to be able to send. when i couldn’t do that, either because my computer was down for the night, or i didn’t have access to it, i would use the browser on my tablet to respond. at some point within the past few days, it dawned on me that if i could send from webmail from port 80, even though my VPN was up, maybe the VPN was getting in the way, so i tried disabling it, and — lo and behold — the message went through. i enabled the VPN again, tried sending a message, and “socket operation timed out”. disabling the VPN made the message go through almost immediately.

so, i opened TWO tickets at the VPN provider, one about my tablet, and one to find out if there is some way to un-block my SMTP service on port 465. i (FINALLY) convinced the (new) host provider to re-add “mailing lists” to my cpanel, and, like magic, i suddenly had email lists that work (i think) again.

i (still) have two open tickets with the VPN provider, but my impression is that if they’ve got a bug that affects the connection of my tablet, it has probably struck a lot of people with similar tablets, so they’ve got a lot to deal with.

and i’ve still got web updates to get to, but the web update guy says that they can wait for a month or so, at which point there will probably be more anyway…

so, anyway…

i got back from OCF, which, apart from the fact that my email was screwed up when i left, and nothing had been done about it by the time i came back, was excellent. i left on tuesday the 4th, and returned on monday the 10th, got bit by at least 50 different mosquitoes. they were huge and ravenous this year, pretty much the same as always, but they definitely dissappeared by thursday. i don’t know whether or not it had to do with the incoming throngs of people, but there was a definite difference between the clouds of mosquitoes surrounding me on wednesday, and their dissappearance on thursday.

chela mela
chela mela
the big conversation this year was around “cultural appropriation”, specifically the “cultural appropriation” perceived by a few, very vocal, “native american” (or not) people who aren’t even associated with the fair, when The Ritz (one of my favourite places about the fair) after 5 years of carving this EXQUISITE “story pole” outside the ritz, in a very public way, decided to raise the pole.

that’s it…

the “native americans” (or not) decided, after 5 years of public carving, without saying a SINGLE WORD, that the ritz raising their “story pole” is “cultural appropriation”.

first of all, i don’t actually know anything (which is the way 90% of the fair is run, from the beginning). all i pretend to know is what other, very passionate, people, some of whom actually do “know”, have told me. but what they say is:

the lady that’s behind the cry of “cultural appropriation” is a “troublemaker” and has been for many years. she may or may not be native herself and she has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fair, but she has made an “anti-story-pole” web site and invited other “native american” groups to rally behind her standard. a small number have actually done so.

the ritz, in response to this lady’s blandishments, have COMPLETELY REMOVED ALL of the “native american” art from the premises, taken down the boiler that had native american artwork on it, that was prominently placed at the entrance, flipped over a fence that had native american style carvings, and replaced it with “vanilla” art, taken away 90% of the T-shirts, tote bags, bandanas and other merchandise that had “inappropriate” artwork, and minted new tokens this year, as well as taking the story pole off site for the fair.

at the same time, elders from a variety of northwest tribes, including the native kalapuya tribe, and elders from standing rock, have blessed the ritz, said that the artwork, and the ritz itself, HONOURS native traditions, and that this whole “cultural appropriation” fiasco is totally unimportant, considering how many actual issues of grave importance there are facing native americans, and society at large, these days.

finally, my own opinion is that ART IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION. people like picasso (or was it banksy?) have said “IMMATURE ARTISTS IMMITATE. MATURE ARTISTS STEAL.” ever listen to “jazz”?

not only that, but having studied, and tried to imitate, northwest native artwork, i can tell you, from personal experience, that it’s not easy at all. the guy who carved the story pole wasn’t native, himself, but he obviously had experienced and expert native assistance, as well as YEARS of personal experience, to make a story pole that looked as authentic as it did, despite having elements that would NEVER HAVE APPEARED on an authentic native pole…

which it was never presented as being in the first place! 😕

so i was intrigued when i read a blurb that was posted in “Xavanadu” (what used to be called “The Craft Lot”, outside Morningwood Odditorium), concerning why the fair decided not to raise the story pole this year. it said, among other things, that there were a band of the kalapuya tribe called “chelamela”.

i haven’t yet met anyone who knows for sure, but it was always my impression (and the sign above supports the idea) that “chelamela” was a sanskrit compound word: छेल (chela) means “a devotee”, and मेल (mela) means “a festival”, so छेलमेल (chelamela) is “a festival of devotees”.

the idea that there may have been a band of kalapuya indians called “chelamela” is intriguing to me — suspicious, but intriguing — especially considering all of this “cultural appropriation” furor that is currently going on.

apparently, it’s true… who knew? 😉 so, the next question is, who “culturally appropriated” who, here?

there wasn’t a single day in the week that i was there, when i wasn’t involved in a PASSIONATE discussion about this issue, with MANY people. it made for a REALLY INTERESTING fair…


north trotter's
north trotter’s
above, is “north trotter’s” on wednesday. it’s about a mile from Morningwood Odditorium: to get there, i had to walk through fields called “Xavanadu”, “Miss Piggy”, “North Piggy” and “Kermit” to get to the “Cabal Crossing”, which is where i signed in. by friday, this ENTIRE FIELD was filled with cars. near the center of the photo, in the background, you can see a structure that marks the beginning of the exit road. on the other side of that structure is another, similar sized field, “The Dead Lot” (named for a Grateful Dead performance that happened in 1989(?) in the lot), and beyond that is another similar sized field called “Outta Site”… which is where i parked my car this year. there is a shuttle, called “F.A.R.T.S.” (Fair Area Rapid Transit System) which i had to ride if i didn’t want to walk.

this was the bird that was over the dead lot, one of the times i decided to walk.

anagrams of Oregon Country Fair
anagrams of Oregon Country Fair

a huge load of hippie crap
a huge load of hippie crap
on wednesday, someone delivered a huge load of “hippie crap” to “xavanadu”. they eventually assembled it all into this. at night, the “roots” lit up with rainbow crawling LEDs.

Godfrey Daniels
Godfrey Daniels
he was my next door neighbour. 😎

more huge loads of hippie crap
more huge loads of hippie crap
more huge loads of hippie crap. at night it lit up with rainbow colour-changing LEDs.

some random hippie, 2017
some random hippie, 2017
what’s wrong with this picture? 😉

Some Random Hippie, 2011
Some Random Hippie, 2012
Some Random Hippie, 2013
Some Random Hippie, 2016