hem

interesting. i was digging through my incense samples, looking for one i hadn’t tried yet, and i found “Hem Precious Chandan”. when it’s not burning, it has a powerful, sweet, sandalwood scent. when it’s burning, monique says it smells like “drakar” cologne – and, i must admit, it has a very characteristic cologne-like smell. familiar in a way that reminds me of ancient times with my family-of-origin, and situations i only barely remember at my cousins’ house. i also found a tube of “boddhi sattva” incense which is a really powerful camphor. monique doesn’t like it – she says it smells like vicks vap-o-rub, but it reminds me of aarati.

i really like being an incense peddler. i recently had to take inventory (the tax people want to know how much money i spent, so they can figure out how much of my profits to take away), and i discovered, for the first time in my life, i actually think i have *enough* incense… three five-foot-long shelves full, plus another half-shelf full is *a lot* of incense, but if things keep going the way they’ve been going, i should be able to sell all of it within the coming year.

another side benefit is the murtis. i shipped out a shi ga murti to my first murti-only customer, someone from ohio. i ended up having to order *A LOT* of stuff from the murti-supplier in order to get *one* shi ga murti, and then it turned out they didn’t have the one i ordered, so i had to substitute it for a different one. blah. but, at the same time, i now have four nine-inch dragons, two sets of foo-dogs and another shi ga, all of which are, essentially, pure profit!

gah… materialism… but, it’s not exactly like materialism. i like being able to provide these things to people… i like being the one resource when they’re not available anywhere else. a good example of this is one of my incense customers, frank. he’s a professional musician, and he lives in new york. he was a personal friend of george harrison, and he is a personal friend of ravi shankar. apparently george harrison gave him some incense many years ago, and the only place frank knew where to get it from was george… until george died. now he gets the same incense from me! 8) and i recently sent him 3 kilos of another kind of incense, which is one of his favourites, which he can’t find anywhere else. i can’t believe that i’m the *ONLY* incense peddler in the united states who carries the kasturi masala made by shroff channabassappa & sons, but if frank wants to think so, i’m not going to get in his way. i don’t do it because i like having a lot of incense, although i do like having a lot of incense. i also don’t do it because it makes me money, although i like the fact that it makes me money. i do it because i like helping out people like frank, who wouldn’t know where to buy his favourite incense if it wasn’t for me. that’s why the business is called Hybrid Elephant and not something else.

aum gam ganapataye namo namah
sri siddhiivinaayaka namo nama
ashtavinaayaka namo namah
ganapati baapaa morayaa
mangalamuurti moraya

hrm… joined a new community recently – the bhagavad gita discussion group… except as far as i can tell it’s that translation by ac bhaktivedanta prabhupada. he may have been an outstanding sanskrit scholar, but his english left quite a bit to be desired. i always like to balance his translation with the superior (IMHO) ones by Sir Winthrop Sargeant, Swami Chidbhavananda and Sir Edwin Arnold. but, and this has been a mystery to me for a couple of years now, i can’t seem to find my study copy of the edwin arnold translation. i’ve got 3 copies of that translation. two of them are little, blue, hardbound books, one of which is held together with duct-tape (because it’s been very heavily used for many years, of course), and the third one was published as a collection of “indian miniatures” – lithographic prints of ancient indian paintings, but this third one *isn’t* one of my two study copies, it doesn’t have the slokas marked in it, and i don’t want to write in it because it’s allegedly a “rare” book. i *KNOW* those books got boxed up and transported when we moved out of beacon hill, but i haven’t seen them since. included in the stack of mysterious disappearing books is a digest-sized, red hard-bound “blank book” that i used as a journal for the couple of years either side of my high school graduation. i’m sure they’re all in the same place, but i don’t know where that place is.

work was slow today. shannon was out – apparently her father had a stroke. for some reason, image east keeps not receiving the emails i send them, so i had to frantically dig around and re-send a job i sent to them on friday, which was supposed to be finished today. it sucks, but at least it’s not my fault. i have proof that i sent it, so it’s their problem.

jill

here it is. this is what i’m going to do with my thoughts about jill. this may actually be the reason, or one of them, for this whole thing.

okay, in 1976 i played trombone in the washington state bicentennial band. we spent 2 weeks rehearsing, then we spent a week in washington DC, where we performed on the capitol steps, and in the kennedy center. jill was one of the trumpet players in the band. she lived with her family in washougal, which is about 200 miles away from where i was living with my family.

jill and i had a very weird, mental connection – very powerful. we could communicate just as easily as talking without saying a single word. i could hear her thoughts in my head, and she could hear mine. we spent the entire three week experience of the bicentennial band being in much closer contact than i’ve been with almost every other person i’ve ever known.

there wasn’t really any kind of identifiable “romance” as such going on, except for a few awkward words spoken (actually spoken) towards the end of the trip, but we both knew that we had found a soul-mate, and we were both deeply in love. we went our separate ways, although we kept in touch by mail.

apparently she had the same kind of mental connection with her father, or, perhaps something else was going on, but in order to keep her father from finding out that she was communicating with me, we arranged for a friend of hers to send and receive letters for her. it turns out the guy i thought was her father wasn’t her real father, and there was a lot worse going on than i knew about at the time, but that’ll come later.

after about a year of communicating by mail, my high school jazz band went to a competition which was held in a city near where jill lived, and we arranged to meet after the competition, which was being held on the campus of the local college, was over. i found the appointed place and, at the appointed time, she didn’t show up. i waited for about half an hour, and then someone i knew from an entirely different set of circumstances, but, apparently, someone who was somehow related to jill (her cousin, or something), came up to me and informed me that jill’s father had found out that she and i were trying to meet, and that i should watch out for him because he was crazy.

the jazz band competition was over, and i didn’t have any reason to stay any longer, and the thought of being accosted by a crazy man who was pissed off that i was trying to meet his daughter didn’t appeal to me very much, so i went back to my hotel and checked out. just as i was getting ready to walk out the door, i heard a knock. i looked through the peephole and there was a guy dressed like a cop, holding a shotgun. i asked who it was, and he said “officer lee”. i figured it couldn’t be good if he had a shotgun, and i knew i hadn’t done anything wrong, so i figured this was jill’s father who had somehow tracked me down, and i took off out the back door of the hotel room… it’s a good thing i was on the ground floor.

he saw me driving out the hotel parking lot and caught up with me just as i was getting on the freeway. he followed me on the freeway from vancouver to olympia. once i was sure i had lost him, i found a state patrol office, and asked them if there was some way i could file a complaint against someone dressed like a cop who had threatened me with a gun, but they said as long as he hadn’t actually hurt me, there was nothing they could do.

needless to say, i never heard from jill after that. through a strange sequence of events a couple of years later (when i was in college), i ended up hearing a rumour that, not long after that whole thing happened, jill married a man named rockie, and that was the last i heard of it.

until about a year ago.

i was poking around on internet, and i managed to find an email address for jill, and we have exchanged quite a bit of email since then. she lives in central oregon, in a fairly remote, small town. she’s been married to rockie for 24 years, and they have either two or three (my swiss-cheese brain can’t remember) grown daughters. jill is a very important person in the nursing industry in oregon, and a practicing nurse of some fairly high calibre. rockie is a researcher of some kind or another (again, my sieve-like mind has forgotten that detail). jill also has terminal cancer, and it’s my understanding that the mere fact that she’s still alive at this point is somewhat of a miracle.

it turns out the guy i thought was jill’s father, “officer lee”, really was certifiably crazy. he eventually ended up in jail for dressing like a cop and shooting someone. according to what jill told me, he perpetrated many years of sexual abuse on her as well. jill’s exact words were “i was his concubine”. no wonder he didn’t want me around.

i gave up on jill a long time ago. being chased out of town by a nut with a gun should be enough to scare some sense into pretty much anyone. at the same time, i didn’t have the first clue how nutty he really was, and how awful jill’s life was at that time. if i had the first inkling that her life was that awful, i would have at least tried again. admittedly, my life was pretty awful at that time all by itself, but i would still have been compelled to help in whatever way i could.

the fact that jill married rockie so soon after her father chasing me away makes me wonder how serious she really was about me, which makes me feel bad now. on the other hand, the fact that she’s only alive because of a miracle makes me feel bad that i would even be thinking of something so trivial, and, at the same time, makes me wonder how, or even *if* i can be a friend to her now. the fact that she’s very strongly medically oriented means that she will very likely have a very interesting attitude about death, but i don’t know if it is even appropriate for me to ask her about it.

apparently my father (!) wrote to jill’s “father”, in an attempt to tell him that i wasn’t a danger to jill. jill told me that her “father” ripped up that letter in front of her, without letting her read it. that kind of thing strikes me as being *extremely* uncharacteristic for my father, who never failed to criticise me whenever he got an opportunity. on the other hand, there’s a very strong probability that my father didn’t have the slightest suspicion that “officer lee” was sexually abusing his daughter – after all, he still vehemently denies the possibility that *i* might have been abused as a child, which is totally ludicrous.

so, anyway, that’s the story, for what it’s worth. my side of it, anyway. now i’ve got it off my chest, so to speak.

foo

more bizarreness. danelle used to work at the clinic, but she was fired because they suspected she was stealing stuff. then, a couple of weeks ago, someone broke into the clinic and stole a huge quantity of drugs. so, apparently, today, the police served a search warrant on danelle, and found huge quantities of drugs which had been stolen from the clinic in her house. they also found her employee file, and her customer file, which were apparently stolen at the same time. the weird part is that now danelle is saying that monique and sarah helped her steal the files, which is a total lie. danelle is frantically trying to cover her butt, ’cause she *knows* she’s gonna do a lot of time for all the drugs and shit she stole. at the same time, according to what monique says, the police have already asked sarah if she’ll submit to a polygraph test. considering that they found stolen property in danelle’s house, i seriously doubt the police are giving what she says much credence, but at the same time, it’s a little scary that monique may have to submit to a polygraph test. it’s not as though she’s done anything wrong, we just don’t want it to turn into a fishing trip.

shannon was hired at work on monday this week. she managed to finish her first week fairly well. hopefully she’ll take over enough of the “brains” function from carl that things will start to run more smoothly. as it is, carl has been making a reputation for himself recently by sending jobs to press that haven’t been approved. i get a call from the customer saying they’ve got changes on their job, and i can’t find the job, so i go back to troy and he’s already printed it on carl’s approval. we’re doing at least two or three of those per week recently. so, shannon and i are conspiring against carl. i requisitioned a proofreading stamp, and now, theoretically, jobs *won’t* go to press until they’ve been signed off by the customer. period. troy says this is never going to work. he says that it has been tried before, and after a while, carl simply ignores it. troy has even offered to bet me $20 that he’s right. the way i figure it, if i put money down it, that’s going to guarantee that i’m going to lose. the way it is now, especially with shannon taking over a lot of carl’s responsibilities, i think we may actually be able to get it to work. status quo never changes until it stops being status quo, and it takes cojones to change things. in spite of everything, my impression is that troy simply doesn’t have ’em.

at the same time, i’ve had a little “frisson” of fear (nice word i learned from jill not too long ago) that carl hired shannon to replace me. shannon has *A LOT* of print shop experience, what appears to be a fair amount of computer experience, and she’s a lot more “customer service oriented” than i am. if it were up to me, i would *NEVER* have *ANY* contact with the customers (’cause i’m too likely to bite their heads off when they’re being stupid), and i’m hoping that carl hasn’t hired shannon because he wants someone up front who doesn’t mine dealing with the customers. so far there’s been no indication that this is *actually* going to happen, but i’m an inveterate paranoiac, and i can’t help thinking that way once in a while.

got a nifty box fulla stuff from the statue people. four 9″ dragons, two sets of “foo dogs” (i’ve called ’em “guardian lion dogs” before, but apparently they’re also called “foo dogs” also), and a couple of shakyamuni statues, one of which gets sent to some guy in ohio. selling stuff to people like this is *COOL*! they pay me, i buy cool stuff and send it to them, and everybody’s happy. i’ve been talking to a few people about doing some commission sales from our site as well, but so far nobody has “bit”. i talked to kolette about engraved talismans or some such thing she makes. pretty much anything she makes will be saleable – her artistic genius is rarely matched. saint fred’s friend who does ceramic stuff also contacted me a couple of weeks ago, and i had a nice conversation with gunnar’s friend joseph about a huge pile of glass pipes and suchlike that he’s got stashed in his basement. if even one of these things actually happens, we’ll have some nice additions to the business.

went to buy mice for herb and agador this afternoon. there’s a new PetsMart across the freeway from the print shop, so i decided to check it out… except that they don’t sell feeder animals because it’s “not ethical”. they also don’t sell reptiles, because they don’t want to have to sell live animals as food for them. oddly enough, they *do* sell predatory fish, and they also sell feeder fish for them, so i really wonder where they draw the line. meanwhile, i had to drive back down to petco to get mice, ’cause i *know* petco will sell me mice. and they’ll even weed out the cute ones for me, so monique won’t gripe about feeding them to the reptiles. 😉

i got email from a random, relatively local innocent bystander, who has apparently been watching The Church of Tina Chopp for a while, and he wants to attend a Vegetable Sacrifice. i told him that he should propose a date and we’ll see what we can organise. it’s a little odd, not having the Public Sacrifice on Sproogle, but there’s been such a small amount of interest over the past few years that i’m pretty desperate for *any* kind of action these days. if he wants his own, special Vegetable Sacrifice Ceremony, who am i to deny him?

new music been crunching around in my head for a few days. woulda got something down on tape (so to speak) several days ago, but massive fatigue has been plaguing me. hopefully i’ll get caught up a little this weekend. i’ve been coming home from work and going to sleep by 8:30. it’s a little alarming. i’ve got a bunch of new music i need to get down, and i’ve got a website update for diana that’s almost finished that i need to upload, so i can’t go to sleep until *at least* 11:00 pm tonight.

fum

vaguely interesting, vaguely Tina related conversation w/a couple of geeks at #verylowsodium. every now and then it’s good to have a reminder why i really don’t like IRC… although, i must admit, i’ve had some fun trading music on IRC, so it’s not all bad.

talked w/nexus about perl code for the big ass form. got some good ideas, but still don’t know how to make any of it work. nex hasn’t done perl for a while, and he was giving me information as though i know what i’m doing, which i don’t… so now i’ve got some nifty code snippets that look like they may be modifiable into something that might work, but i’m not the one to do it… oh well, i’m closer than i was before.

been trading snippets of poetry with ian over the past few days. mostly bits of lyrics from songs by brian eno and godley & creme. my impression is that ian may be able to take the code snippets and do something useful with them, but he’s been somewhat distant… um… ever since i first got back in touch with him after he got out of the army, which was… um… 10 years ago, or something like that. he’s always been kind of a loner, and he’s always lived on the edge of civilization, but he’s working less than a mile from where i work, *and* he’s got a lot more email access than i do currently (only because he’s working as a geek, and i’m not). i guess i should be happy to hear from him as much as i do, all things considered.

the phone company *SUCKS*… i’d just like to say this in public… specifically qwest. i’ll say it again, with emphasis this time: QWEST SUCKS ASS!

monique and i got new cell phones. the qwest drone told us that they would have “the most up-to-date software available” installed in them. when we got the phones, they didn’t do a bunch of the stuff the qwest drone told us it was going to do. i contacted motorola, and discovered that we *don’t* have the most up-to-date software. motorola informs me that the most usual way to get software upgrades is to download them from my service provider. but qwest says their network “doesn’t support downloads”… !?!?

they say that the only way to get a software upgrade is to replace the phone… so i tell them i want a software upgrade, and they send me another phone… which has identical software in it. i contact motorola to see if there is another solution to this problem, and it turns out i can mail the phone to motorola’s offices in texas, and they can upgrade the software for me, but that takes 20 days… and, of course, qwest won’t loan me a phone for that period of time.

qwest says it’s “not in their contract” to provide software upgrades. they say the only thing they’re required to do is provide the ability to make and receive wireless phone calls. anything beyond that is out of their jurisdiction.

to make matters worse, i’ve relied on the WUTC to persuade the phone company to do things they’ve promised to do, but then changed their minds, however apparently the WUTC doesn’t have jurisdiction when it comes to wireless phone providers. they recommended i complain to the FCC…

so, i’m doing that tomorrow.

and they call this civilization?

burning man

aum ganganapataye namah

so, i’m going to burning man this year. i’ve wanted to go for a number of years, and now i’ve actually got an “excuse” to go… i’ve even got my ticket, which set me back a whopping $225, qualifying burning man as the single most expensive event i have ever attended.

problem is, i don’t know how i’m getting there. monique wants to meet me on the southern oregon coast *after* burning man (she’s not going to burning man because it’s not a safe environment for dogs, and she doesn’t want to leave the dogs at home), but that’s assuming that i not only have some way of getting to burning man, but a way of getting to the oregon coast afterwards.

20 years ago, i would have hitchhiked, and not been concerned about it. 20 years ago, i didn’t have a job and a schedule to worry about. i’ve got a very limited amount of time between the time i leave and the time i have to be back at work (bleah), so i’ve either got to find a ride to burning man who is also willing to drive me to the oregon coast afterwards, or i have to figure out a way of driving myself.

our small car won’t make it – it’s on its last legs as it is, and an extended road trip would be its death knell. our big car would make it, but if i take the big car, monique won’t have any way to get her and the dogs to the oregon coast afterwards, and if i come home after burning man and before going to the oregon coast, it’ll waste at least two days.

i could rent a car, but that would cost a fair amount of money and i’m already trying to keep expenses down (what with the $225 ticket), and besides, i’m planning on taking at least 20 gallons of water, so it would have to be a fairly substantial car, if i ended up renting one, to be able to transport that, plus me and a week’s worth of camping gear and food.

i was hoping to get a ride there and back from sasha, but now he’s not sure whether he’s going or not, ’cause his sweetie’s father is sick. i’m sure i know other people i might be able to get a ride from, but i’ve emailed a bunch of ’em and so far i haven’t got any responses.

mal offered to loan me his RV, if he hasn’t sold it by then… but even if he hasn’t sold it, i don’t know whether it’s in any shape to make that long a road trip, not to mention the fact that i’ve never driven anything like that before.

blah.

aum ganganapataye namah

the enlightened rantings of a brain damaged freak