this is one of the main reasons why i want to get away from having to use paypal. i’ve heard too many stories like this over the past year or so to ignore it any longer… 8/
okay, i’m getting really excited now. after what seems like years of not getting anywhere, i’m finally coming down to the last stretch of work on the new site. i’ve still got some products to add to the database, i’ve still got a few things that need tweeking, and i still need to add a whole bunch of content, but i have a fair idea of where that’s coming from and a fairly good idea of how to incorporate it into the site without too much difficulty. there’s still an annoying difficulty, which is that when i put the “ganesha” directory anywhere in the new site, for some reason (including permissions, which i have already checked and they’re all set correctly), the contents of the directory don’t show up, and links to within the “ganesha” directory come back as “403 Forbidden” which is exceedingly strange. furthermore, when i link to where the “ganesha” directory currently lives, there’s no problem, but i get the impression that it can’t stay that way, because when i “move” the domain from the old site to the new site, everything that’s where the old site currently is will be two directories in back of the root directory, and while i can develop that way, i’m about 50% sure that domain-forwarding will make it impossible in real life. i’m not worried, though. things will work out, as always.
ganesha the car got a tune up for the first time in 3 years today. it was close to $400, but the guy took off almost $100 of that because i paid in cash, and because i’m going to make him more business cards. he’s also got a flyer that i’m going to design and (probably) print as well. it was really strange, because i dropped off ganesha the car yesterday and he gave me a ride home in his huge-ass black cadillac with a license plate that says “CHR1ST”. this is the guy who, when i showed up wearing my “it’s just a vegetable” shirt, gave me evil looks all afternoon. i guess he’s willing to look askance at my propensity to sacrifice the Holy Vegetable when it means that he’s going to get kick-ass business cards.
i got a call from "the attorney" the other day, about the notice i received. he said there is nothing to worry about – like i believe that, especially coming from an attorney 8/ – but it was good to hear him say it if nothing else. he said that we’re one to two months out from "the hearing", and he needs to collect updates from me, and various other folks.
when you’re unemployed/unemployable/disabled, you get to a point where it doesn’t matter whether it’s the weekend or not. for me it comes down to working and doing what i do anyway, regardless of what day it is, or facing the possibility of even deeper depression because of the fact that i’m not really doing anything to bring income into the house. i’m a wage slave even when i deliberately try to remove myself from the cycle of wages and slavery.
along the same lines, i got a notice from the “Office of Disability Ajudication and Review” about my disability case the other day. a person who has never met me and knows nothing about me is going to decide whether or not i actually am “disabled”. thrill. if they decide that i am, then i’ll get disability retroactively from the time i first had my injury, a portion of which i will then have to fork over to the attorney who has sat there doing nothing for 2 years while the government decided to pull their collective thumb out of their ass and do something about it. if they decide i’m not disabled, then life continues exactly as it has been, except there is no further possibility of my being able to get disability from the government, ever. at this point, it’s still a 50/50 shot, which doesn’t make me feel particularly good about the chances.
meanwhile, i’ve been working hard on feeding the database, and i’ve run out of photos, which means that i’ve got to run another batch of product through the GIMP before going any further. i get the impression that i’m getting fairly close to being finished enough to go live with it, but there’s still darkness at the end of the tunnel. at this point, i don’t know if it’s because there’s still a long way to go, or if it will just be night when i reach the end.
the fremont philharmonic played at a benefit concert for HonkFest West at the Lo-Fi on friday. it went really well, despite having a substitute trumpet player. we had random dance/movement art going on while we played, including one piece that had a woman stripping, which was excellent. she said afterwards that she had only worked to a live band once before, and that we had blown them out of the water and wants to work more with us, which is amazing and exactly what i want to do – and it’s not because she’s a stripper, it’s because strippers always seem to have work, and if there’s money to be made, i wanna be a part of it.
moisture festival coming up. there’s a possibility that the circus contraption band has stolen april 1st from us, but i don’t know for sure.
happy mahasivaratri last night. i thought i was going to stay up, but i was on the phone or in rehearsal from 9:30 am until 11:30 pm, and i was tired. i did aarati this morning, however. hopefully that will suffice.
i think i found a merchant account/payment gateway that i can afford that will also do away with paypal altogether, which is CardAccept, although i don’t yet know for sure if their gateway will work with my web site. i had a nice conversation with a representative on the phone, who looked at my site and listened to my story and lowered my monthly minimum without my even having to ask, and they’re also the only place that charges for the payment gateway, but doesn’t also have a monthly or annual fee. their charge per transaction is about average: 2.24% + $0.25, but the fact that they don’t charge a setup fee or a monthly fee beyond the gateway has me looking strongly in their direction.
i redid the Hybrid Elephant logo, as well. it’s basically the same as the old logo, but now i have the entire file as vectors, so i can make stickers, banners and other suchlike good stuff.
i keep getting both closer and further away at the same time. i suppose the ultimate effect so far is that i’m getting neither closer, nor further away from going live with the new web site. i’ve arbitrarily decided that i want to go live with it around the middle of next month, but that’s an entirely arbitrary deadline and depends a lot on my getting past a couple of what appear to be impossible obstacles, only one of which i have the remote impression that i can fix. the optimist in me says that’s the reason why the business is named after the Remover of Obstacles, but the pessimist in me isn’t willing to concede defeat yet.
the other problem is a seemingly simple problem that gets worse once i actually got around to figuring out how to fix it: the total amount of the order in a customer’s shopping cart is transferred to paypal without any problem. i figured out how to get the shopping cart on my server to figure out the shipping charges without any problem, but when it switches over to the paypal servers, it somehow forgets to add the shipping charges to the shopping cart total, the result being that i would have to request that they fill out shipping as an extra charge again – which would make the customer suspicious, under the best of circumstances, and probably cost me quite a bit in sales, if nothing else.
to add to the problem, in a way that is entirely to my liking, but in a strange sort of way, i’ve actually got another incense order this week, which makes four in the past week (one of which i had to refund because it was made from a page that doesn’t really exist). i haven’t been talking too much about it because i don’t want to jinx anything just yet, but it seems like i’ve gotten far more business this year than i did during the same period of time last year. which means, of course, that the more i sell while i’m still getting the new web site ready, the more i’m going to have to update the new site when it finally goes live, because the amounts of product that i have at that time will be different than it was when i first entered it into the database. the longer time goes on after the database goes live, the less i will have to worry about discrepancies, but it’s likely to be a major headache the first couple of times i run out of product and have to cover my ass.
and that’s not to mention the fact that i’m getting more and more concerned about my relationship with paypal at all. it seems like when i first started doing business with them there wasn’t anywhere near the stigma that there is about doing business with them now. and, to top it all off, there have been things like PayPal Warning dot com, and feedback from people like the lady at the bank about paypal’s reputation suffering, frauds, ripoffs and other wonderful stuff that i don’t want associated with my business.
the obvious solution to the paypal problem mentioned above is to get a “real” merchant account from somewhere, get an SSL certificate – again, from somewhere, and who knows how i’m going to pay for it – and “roll my own”. there are a number of interesting alternatives, including ProPay, which requires that i limit my credit card transactions to $1,000 and has a $35 annual fee, along with the 3.5% + $0.35 per transaction fee, which i think is a bit much for me. there’s also National Merchant, which has no annual fee or signup fee, and has a “discount rate” which is $0.25 + “as low as 1.99%” – but there’s no obvious indication of how high that “discount rate” might go.
there’s also 2Checkout which i haven’t investigated yet, but i get the impression that it’s more of a replacement for paypal than it is a “real” merchant account. there’s also costco merchant credit card processing, which has no obvious way of connecting it to the web (is that what a “payment gateway” is? i’m still learning a lot of terminology for these sorts of things), and i understand that they pull your credit rating as a part of their verification process, which automatically makes your credit rating go down. and there’s also washington mutual, whose representative was way too ready to sign me up, assuring me that their merchant servies were the cheapest, and offering me $250 cash if they couldn’t meet or beat any competitor’s prices. the lady was eager enough to sign me up that i was a little suspicious of her motives. i said i would come back in an hour, but that was yesterday, and i didn’t come back.
instead i talked our neighbour into sharing their hydraulic ram firewood splitter and split the four big rounds of firewood that we’ve still got from last year into about the same amount of firewood that we already had. i figure i’ll go back on monday and actually talk with her about some of the details before i sign up with anyone.