Category Archives: rants

oy! 😖

the continuing saga of the mailing list fiasco has reached a new plateau:

so, it started out that one of the subscribers to the list sent a message to the list that didn’t go through, for some unknown reason (demons).

when his message didn’t go through IMMEDIATELY — as he was used to them doing — he started looking around for other addresses, and he found two of them. one goes to the list owner, and one is a “machine only” address that sends bounce notices to the owner. it is not for sending email TO, and it is definitely not for sending mail to when your message doesn’t go through, because that triggers the MTA on the user end to blacklist your message.

i found out about this whole fiasco about 6 hours into it, when he sent mail to my personal address, asking me if there was something wrong. i noticed that he had sent mail to the machine-only address, and got blacklisted by micro$awful, so i wrote to the host provider to see if there was something that could be done to reverse the problem.

the host provider’s response was to accuse me (and my mailing list) of sending spam, and they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sending spam. 😒

they generously offered to set me up with a new IP address instead of arbitrarily closing my account, but the new IP address they gave me didn’t have a PTR (pointer) record, or a RDNS (Reverse DNS) record, which only made the machine that controls the email list mad, because usual mailing lists have a PTR and a RDNS record, and the end result was that i was blacklisted by a number of services with which i have been exchanging emails without a problem for years.

fortunately, these other services were ones for which i could submit delisting requests myself, which takes the host provider and their sensitivity about spam and spammers out of the loop.

nevertheless, i started losing patience, and i might have said some things in my communications with the host provider which ended up making things a whole lot worse, ending up with yesterday, when they asked me to move my web sites to a different host provider immediately.

at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME, the PTR and RDNS records that they installed on my new IP address took effect, which meant that i can no longer send email from my local email client, because it’s not the same server that my VPN has been talking to for more than a year, and i lost it. i didn’t actually curse at them, but i did everything but that.

while i was in the process of figuring out that it was my VPN that was my primary problem, i had, simultaneously, to explain the mistake to the guy who sent the original message, re-assure the members of the mailing list who were trying — and failing — to send messages to the list that they weren’t actually the problem, despite the fact that their email addresses were not interacting correctly with the mailing list, and fend off the more and more insistent demands that i leave, immediately, from the host provider.

long story short, i didn’t sleep very well last night. 😠

at about 3:30 this morning, i finally wrote a letter to macque, saying that i was no longer able to host the web sites he has me hosting, i was no longer able to maintain the mailing list, and that i was retiring from the hosting business.

then i checked, once again, with micro$awful, and determined that I HADN’T ACTUALLY BEEN BLACKLISTED AT ALL!

the WHOLE THING had been caused by “demons” in the machine! 😖

and, to top things all off, we’re scheduled to go to the beach for a week, starting monday, which meant that, if i was going to move, i would have to find a new host and give them the information they need to move my web sites in 3 days, or wait a week, and do the same thing when i got back from vacation. both of these options made going on vacation TO BEGIN WITH not a very exciting prospect, and i was getting severely depressed about it.

and, to put the cherry on top, it turns out that sketch, the drummer for Snake Suspenderz, died yesterday, which made me even more depressed… primarily because he, being dead, didn’t have to worry about all the CRAP that has been going on in the world, while i, being not dead, had to deal with seven times MORE CRAP and had no say in the matter, whatsoever.

then, things started to get better… kind of…

the first thing that happened is that, when i told them that i would be moving my web site in two weeks, that micro$awful hadn’t really blacklisted my IP address, and that i had dumped the client that had caused the whole fiasco, they let up a little bit, and allowed that, since i had paid access until july, that i could stay until then. with a bit more discussion back and forth, they relented even further, and allowed me to keep my web sites where they are.

but i’m still giving up being a host provider for people who don’t know how it works, because it’s WAY too stressful.

so, in the end, i can go on vacation without having to worry about internet SHIT, either while i am on vacation, or after i get home; i will no longer have to deal with people who don’t know doing things that they shouldn’t do and feeling awful about it afterwards, and i won’t ACTUALLY have to move my web sites that aren’t going away anyway (which is an entirely different ball of wax)…

but sketch is still dead, which means that, either, Snake Suspenderz will break up, or that we will find a new drummer… neither of which are very attractive alternatives at this point.

hrmph!

i am done with the moisture festival for another year: 13 shares. we’ll see what a share costs in about a month, but i’m not holding my breath.

during the fremont phil part of the run, i broke my tuba: the mouthpiece receiver came loose, which made playing the instrument sort of interesting, but not absolutely impossible, which is why i took it to the repair shop today, instead of when it happened.

i’m still recovering from the flu. i’ve got a persistent cough which, according to what i’ve read recently, may never go away, although it seems to be, so i don’t know yet.

and, while i was busy with the moisture festival, a subscriber to one of the mailing lists i maintain, who has an email address at micro$awful, unknowingly sent email to the wrong address, and got the mailing list blacklisted from sending to addresses at micro$awful. the host provider’s response to this was to believe micro$awful, and to say that if i don’t move the mailing list to a third-party, commercial SMTP provider, that they were going to refuse to provide service to me any longer. i don’t want to do that, but i am running out of other choices very quickly, and informing micro$awful that their automated blacklister made a mistake is almost impossible. i’m getting really tired of dealing with other peoples’ screw-ups, and, once again, am debating whether or not to just toss all of my “web clients” except for my wife, and just deal with my own domains. it would be so much easier than explaining stuff to people who don’t understand, who don’t pay attention, and who do continue to do the stuff that makes problems happen which i can’t fix.

now that the moisture festival is over, i’ve got a band-mate’s saxophone to work on for a couple days, and moe and i are going to the beach in a week or so. hopefully that will give me the chance to get back to normal for a while. 😒

snarl!!! 🤬

one of the down sides to vaping, as compared to smoking, is that, every now and then (even under the best of circumstances), i have to charge my battery. the “newer” battery models (and quite a few of the older ones, as well) have a micro-USB connector that you plug into a micro-USB charging cable — which are ubiquitous — and then plug the cable into a USB outlet, in your computer, in an outlet strip, in a USB charger, or in a brick in the wall.

i don’t have one of that variety.

the variety of battery i have takes a special type of charger. i suspect that it’s just a matter of swiching out the micro-USB connector (which frequently fails anyway) for a “screw-on” charger, but i haven’t taken apart a micro-USB charger (yet) to find out. it looks like this:

screw-on charger
screw-on charger

the problem is that, after a while — usually somewhere between 3 days and 3 weeks — they just quit working. when you screw them on to the battery, the light turns green and nothing happens.

i finally got tired of having to go and buy a new charger every couple of weeks, so, in desperation, i took one of the no-longer-functioning ones (of which i have MANY) apart, to see what makes it tick. what i found makes me want to spit!

what i found was cheap, probably chinese electronics, with two wires coming out of the charging end, which i expected. what i did not expect was that the wires WEREN’T EVEN SOLDERED to the screw-on attachment, which had a hexagonal piece on the end, which locked into the plastic case to prevent it from spinning.

not soldered wires! >8(
not soldered wires! >8(
the black wire was just layed down, flat, and the screw-on connector was laid on top of it, and the red wire was completely disconnected from the connector, which — naturally — prevented the charger from doing anything other than sitting there with a green light, looking pretty.

THIS IS PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE!!! 🤬

they build these things, EXPECTING them to fail, so that people will have to go out and buy a new one! 😠

i don’t have time, right now, but i am fairly good at soldering wires, and you can bet that, when i have the time, i am going to jigger up one of these gadgets that has BOTH wires correctly soldered in place, and take them to local vape shops and see if i can sell them.

’cause this is RIDICULOUS! 😠🤬😠🤬😠🤬

i knew it was going to happen eventually…

16 years ago, in 2003, hybrid elephant requested, and was granted a paypal “business” account.

i never trusted paypal to do what they claimed to be so good at, so i didn’t keep any balance in my account. i had it there so that people — even people without paypal accounts — could pay me with a credit card, and i didn’t have to worry about checking whether they actually, you know… had a credit card, and that sort of thing.

i had the paypal account as a convenience, and, at first, because there wasn’t anything else like it available for “small” businesses like hybrid elephant.

a few years ago, when i had my web site “professionally” re-designed (my skills with HTML went out the window once i had my brain injury), i switched from using paypal for payments to me, to using stripe for payments, primarily because i hated paypal so much. stripe is only slightly better than paypal, but, significantly, they’re not paypal, which, for me, made all the difference.

since then, i’ve only used my business paypal account for payments to host providers, registrars and web designers, and for a few purchases of tools and materials… and nothing else.

—–

this morning, i woke up to email that said “Your account has been limited”.

immediately, i figured it was spam, but then i looked at it. the last time paypal posted such things online, they posted a few pointers for distinguishing real paypal email from fake paypal email. they included things like “real paypal email will address you by your full name, and not by “member” or something like that”. this email addressed me by my full name, and informed me that i had violated their acceptable use policy, and because of that, they were permanently closing my account.

😒

i contacted my current web designer, who was of the opinion that it was spam/phishing, and recommended that i log in to my paypal account and call them. i logged in to my paypal account, and was immediately transported to a new page that said

You can’t use PayPal anymore

At PayPal, we value a safe community for our customers to do business. We noticed activity in your account that’s inconsistent with our User Agreement and we no longer offer you PayPal services.

Any bank or credit card information linked to your PayPal account cannot be removed nor can it be used to create a new account. You can still log in and see your account information but you can’t send or receive money. Any money in your balance will be held for 180 days, after which we’ll send you an email with instructions about transferring your money.

😒

so, i called them, and, after waiting on hold FOR TWO FUCKING HOURS an “agent” told me that i had been found guilty of violating paypal’s appropriate use policy and there was nothing i could do to change their decision to ban me from their service. the “agent” also informed me that i would be unable to use that credit card number, or email address, to establish a new account in the future. when i asked them to give me some idea of what i had done to deserve such a punishment, they told me that in order to find out what i did, i would have to “seek legal counsel, and file a subpoena.”

at that point, i yelled “FUCK YOU” and hung up.

😠

they said they’ll send me any balance after 180 days (because they want to get all the money they can from your account before they close it), but, because my account had zero balance, the next thing i did was to contact my bank, have them put a hold on any further money going from my account to paypal, disconnect the card that paypal hasd, and issue a new card, with a different number.

at this point, i feel like i deserve this: i only yelled “fuck you” one time, and it was appropriately directed… and i handled the rest of it a lot better than i would have 15 or 20 years ago…

adulting award
adulting award

Pat Robertson’s Weird Way of Doing Sex

pat robertson should not be allowed to broadcast his hate on national television. it astounds me that he still has a platform… although it astounds me that people still go to church, so maybe i’m the crazy one here… although i would much rather be considered “crazy” than i would to convert to that sex-crazed mainiac’s way of thinking. seriously, i don’t understand why HOMOSEXUALS having sex the way they do threatens anybody, and certainly not to the depths of the fabric of society. the fact is, whether pat robertson likes it or not, people have been “doing sex” the “weird way” since long before pat robertson was around, and they’re not likely to go away just because pat robertson and his ilk somehow get a law passed. people like him would do well to pay attention when someone like, oh, i don’t know, Jesus Christ, maybe, says “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

it makes me wonder about the beam in pat robertson’s eye, particularly since he seems to be obsessed with “weird” ways of having sex. it makes me think that he might not be getting enough, himself. 😒

Pat Robertson’s Weird Way of Doing Sex
by Rev. Dr. Guido Super DeLuxe, 190226
download here